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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  December 31, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EST

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>> this weekend, book tv and american history tv look behind the literary life of baton rouge. tonight at 10:55 p.m. the bloodly book was said to be in the hands of jean paul marat when he was assassinated. it may be the most famous political act ever produced. daisy petals and mushroom clouds monday. and on american history tv at 6:50, it served as the model for civil rights boycotts to come.
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and at 7:45, tour the louisiana archives with materials from the louisiana purpose -- the louisiana purchase. plus louisiana state the documents. all this weekend on c-span 2 and c-span 3. and to recap once again, we have lots of iowa coverage today with several republican candidates hosting dbase around the state. it first gets started in about 90 minutes. it is rick perry and he is holding a meet and greet with voters in iowa. in the meantime, we will show you a conversation with federal lobbyists and businessmen jack abramoff.
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he called for lobbying reform efforts after being convicted and going to prison for his lobbying practices. this is about an hour and a half. is anutes. >> this is the first of our new and occasional series. i am the director of the center for ethics and a professor here at the law school. as i describe this series, our aim is to have a conversation with a wide range of souls. these are people with a different kind of experience, sometimes a legal expense, sometimes ethical experience. but for such a conversation to make sense, we also have those
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who have demonstrated some reflection, and ability to reflect upon what they have experienced and how they can contribute to the work of this center. that, plus the willingness to engage in a conversation that might advance our understanding of the ethical issues that are the -- that are at the heart of our work. i'm truly grateful tonight to jack abramoff for helping us launched this series. as everyone knows, jack abramoff is most famous and perhaps most infamous lobbyist. he pled guilty to felony criminal counts to a casino venture. yeah admitted to exchanging gifts for favors. -- he admitted to exchanging gifts for favors.
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in june last year, he was transferred from a federal correctional institution to a halfway house in baltimore. a year ago, he was released on probation and now lives under the constant surveillance of our criminal system with a continuing obligation to pay whatever money he earned in restitution back to the government. jacks story has been told in the press and in the movies, including a documentary and a feature film starring kevin spacey. it must have been very cool to meet kevin spacey. [laughter] if you are a junkie for the sort of stuff as i am, after you read his extremely compelling accounts, in his book "capital punishment," i think that you will experience a russian mob of fat -- a rashamov effect.
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we're here to learn about the institution that he lobbied, congress, and the political system that he so successfully navigated. my aim is to walk through the aspects. if we are successful, it will be in part because we have been able to engage of a man who has been a part of it. he is a committed an orthodox jew.
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he was not able to drive to meetings, so he had to walk through the philippines to the meetings space. if you have been to the philippines, late night is not the place for a non-native to engage in. he was one of the key figures to revive the republican party in the early 1980's after graduating from brandeis. he has been a film producer, and philanthropist, and giving up to 80% of this income to various philanthropic causes.
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maybe the best summary of his character is his own hilarious summary of himself. "i was the power lifting, football-playing, orthodox jewish, right-wing republican opera buff. you know the type." [laughter] i am grateful to jack for agreeing to engage in this conversation to help us all understand the there is more. welcome here tonight. [applause] i want to begin the conversation by trying to get our bearings. i was struck early in the book with two stories that you tell. one, which outraged you, and the other that you passed over without really recognizing any
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problems. the first one that outraged you was the story about getting the ms -- the mx missile past. as you recount in the book, you say, yes, sir, what canada for you? and bustamonte says that the defense department is -- what can i do for you? and bustamonte says, the defense department is looking to put in a new base. and you remarked -- this is your first moment, your first experience of true washington corruption. bustamonte was later convicted and sent to prison. it is not impossible to say that corruption was at least in part of his soul.
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about the great richard gordon, who taught entertainment law at georgetown, you talk about trying to get into his entertainment law class. you called him daily for a week. i invited him to the opera. i got my friend who work for the reagan administration had dining privileges at the west wing to give him an invitation to meet their daily. fortunately, my full press was effective and i got a spot in his seminar. this is an remarked in this story. this is just the story of how you got into his class. the thing you found corrupt, bustamonte, i was not quite sure of. he was a congressman working, not giving anybody any money. here is the deal. if five -- i will vote for you if you do this political thing for my district.
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and now you are suggesting to richard according to put you in his class because you offered him lunch at the white house. convince me that richard gordon did not get you into the class because of that. tell me why that is an problematic whereas the bustamonte thing is deeply troubling? >> i think i wrote about my efforts to get into a class. when i look back, i think they're probably some law schools who think about lobbying to get into a law class is not something that everybody has in mind. but that is what i was doing. you are right. at a certain level, this is kind of the same problem where one is bringing extraordinary means and irrelevant benefits into play to try to achieve a goal.
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i was 22, 23 perhaps, when i was there an bustamonte called me into his office and hit me with this. and i discussed -- and as i discussed in the book, i was shocked that he would say such a thing. but he would give the seven boats for a naval base. i think i was naive and folks at the white house probably thought i was silly about calling and asking that question. of course, they approved it and then reagan got the mx missile. on the other hand, i went about doing similar things. a think the distinction i make in my mind then and maybe now come to some degree, but surly than, is -- but certainly then,
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is that, as i look back on it, my whole career became one of using my skills, whatever they were, to lobby to get public servants to give out comes. in this case, he was a public servant trading arguably for the benefit of his district, by the way, and i would, in parsing it, viewed it as a citizen try to get ahead. at the end of the day, it is the case, whether one is doing that or offering candy to trick kids to come into your store so that parents by, at some level, there is a bit of corruption there. we have to confront each of these in our daily interactions and decide what level are we willing to play at. >> but when you said there was possibly a problem with what
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richard gordon did, he said it was because it was something irrelevant about the gift being offered. >> it was the related to the underlying issue. >> but i wonder if that is not too high a standard to apply in the context of politics. do we not have to have some politics that we can call non- corrupt or is it impossible to imagine? >> i do not think everything is correct. i think lobbying is a good thing. i think lobbying is a cherished right that we have in a constitution. we can call on our members of congress, or have an agent to do so, or band together. >> bustamonte did not have money on the table. >> in a certain way he did.
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he was delivering jobs. i guess this was unusual for me. the horse trading up it all seemed to be so bizarre. we were trying to convince people -- my job at that point was to convince members of congress to vote for a program, the mx missile program in this case, and i was lobbying on the merits in those days. later, i discovered that marriage are interesting, but they deny usually win. but in those -- they do not usually win. but in those days, it was merits. he said that he would give an outcome that i desired for something that had nothing to do with the merits of the mx missile. >> we can certainly agree that, when the relevant issue of money, campaign contributions or cash in your pocket, both of us think that raises troubling
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problems within the system. one striking fact in the book, when i was looking at this, i was much more charitable in my interpretation of what must be going on inside the system. your account of the role of money here is not charitable at all. you even said -- first of all, you said that it is natural for people inside the system to expect that they need to be rewarded. there are benefactor's with contributions. questionay there's no that these contributions had a significant impact on this process and the impact is not positive. we have a department here at harvard that would question that. but i think you may have an insight stronger than the department. and you say "that contributions in legislation are nothing but
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bribes inside of the system even though these are not for personal gain, but political gain." i found it interesting how you lay out how the distortion gets played. you talk about tom delay meeting with a microsoft representative and suggesting that they needed to help out with the republicans to keep the republicans in power. and then delay says, freshman, he told them about approaching wal-mart for contributions. "the director of wal-mart said that wal-mart did not like to sully their hands with political involvement. staring intently at the microsoft involvement, "a year
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later, that representative was in my office asking to intervene to get an exit poll for the federal highway. i told him i did not want to sully my hands on such a task. you know what? they deny get their ramp -- they did not get their ramp. as we would often say in the lobbying business, they finally got the joke and a $100,000 check was soon thereafter delivered to the republican congressional committee." my view, that is extortion. that sends a clear message saying that you play along are you deny guilt in need. -- or you do not get what you need. >> most members of congress were very subtle. i did not need to get these
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speeches from the because i got the joke myself. when i was lobbying, i was doing what i could to raise money for whoever it could. we raised millions of dollars. but other lobbyists need to be reminded what the standard procedure will be. they will work with you on any issue or agree to support your bill and say, you know, by the way, i am holding a fund-raiser next tuesday. i am not sure if you got the invitation or not. that means, you better come up with some money if you want me to keep doing this. the lay what -- delay was known as the hammer. he did not mince words. eller holmes norton was infamously caught on tape calling a lobbyist just last
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year saying, i do not know if you know this, but i am the chair person of this committee and your coming to our committee for results and i cannot believe that i looked at my card in your not all lists. why are you night giving me money? sometimes, it is subtle. and sometimes, it is very much out front. they are soliciting bribes in essence. unfortunately, it is spread throughout the system, whether they're subtle or not. >> is it your perception that it was always like that or it grew during a stern period? >> i think it was less settled years ago -- less subtle years ago. my new lobbyists who were active in the 1950's and 1960's and it was less subtle.
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there would be members of congress, you want to sit down with me? where's the check? it was not a $52,000 check. it was a $100,000 -- it was $100,000 in cash. it was more outrageous. i think today, one of the ways that members of congress get around feeling horrible about these things is that they are trying to make it out to be something other than what it is. i am having a fund-raiser next tuesday night. if you happen to be in the room and there is extra money falling at of your pocket. so there are more subtle. that make it easier to feel good about yourself. >> so they are asking for money for things i do not directly benefit them.
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is it your perception that it shifts away from the kind of blagojavich or cunningham type of corruption -- what we do for my personal checking account? add more toward how do we exercise influence for these things that benefit me? >> cunningham and blagojavich and bob ney, even, who have their hand at and want you to actually put money there -- that kind of stuff is rare. but the fact is that these members are not asking for contributions to something that they're interested in. this is for charity. oftentimes, these charities will hire their wives or their children. if they're asking for money from the republican or democrat congressional committee, it is
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because there is a requirement. they are raising money for things that they are involved in. it is not directly into their bank accounts, but it might as well be, really. >> when there's this story that you tell. money is one technique that the lobbyist can deploy. many gifts become another aspect. you describe how lobbyists with great influence and certain representatives can cause the advent of congressional hearings and to do so utterly destroy in. this is the kind of weapon you can deploy to guarantee that
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people lined up in the way that you want. >> yes. i think those people do not think about the fact that the government has become a weapon for people. it is not merely a weapon to go fight wars. it is a weapon to fight wars at home. and i am ashamed to tell you that sometimes this was the kind of lobbyist i was. if somebody called up for a hearing -- people think that house and senate hearings are like trials. you go up there and get a fair hearing in their things and the door -- it is not. most hearings are designed to achieve a goal that is not ever expressed. in the sense that lobbyists would pushing hearing, it would be for the purpose of putting your opponent, whether that might be, in the deep end and setting them back. a hearing that could
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theoretically landed in prison, by the way, if you perjure yourself or even if they decide to hold you in contempt of their body, the house or the senate. they have big jail cell in the building that they can put you in. by the way, when i was called up for my hearing, the cell was there. it can destroy your reputation. it can destroy everything you have. but even after this route, you will spend $1 million preparing for your hearing. you will spend weeks and weeks not sleeping preparing for your hearing. you will not do anything that might be a problem, meaning any thing that your opponents might use to come after you. so it is one way to disable your opponent. unfortunately, it is done all the time. there are about 35 standing committees on the hill.
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and they hold hearings everyday. multiplied that out and you see how the lobbyist is able to play and how special interest are able to play in a way that most americans are completely unaware. and the people who get called to these hearings, who pays them to be going to these hearings? >> like their expenses. if an ordinary person might from boston or california -- >> sometimes the committee will pay their expenses. not if they are not a target. >> we often think that the most important influence is the influence of a member. by using the the most important influence is the influence of a staffer's. >> right. >> and if you can signal to the staffer -- jim cooper, democrat
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from tennessee, described congress as a form league -- as a farm league for k street. then you have a very valuable resource. his pay check may have been signed by congress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for me. a perfectly correct arrangement even though no rules had been broken, at least not yet. is this just a jack abramoff innovation or is this a common practice? >> i did not indicate anything. as i look back on my career -- i did not innovate anything. as i look back on my career, i
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learned everything i did. i may have pushed some of them over the normal boundaries, which is what got me in trouble. but there are a lot of smart people in washington and they think about everything. one of the reasons that lobbyists laugh about the approach to reform the system it is because no matter what people throughout the system, they will overcome it. one of becomes immediately apparent when you are a lobbyist or when you're working with congress, the truth is congressman used to have no staff. the great leaders of our past wrote their own bills, wrote their own first commons, lead their own meetings -- wrote to their own first comments, lead their own meetings. like corporations and other
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places, the staff runs the show. that becomes apparent to a lobbyist immediately. the ones who make the decision will give you access to the staff. you have to figure out very quickly that most members of congress are pretty lazy. they do not want to do the work. the run for office. they love the camera. they want to be on tv. they want to raise money. and they want to win their elections. but they do not want to do any work. they certainly do not want to read the bills. that is for certain. >> why? i cannot understand why. [laughter] >> because they are reading comic books. >> they have no time for the bills. >> they are not really running the trains. the staff is. so when i started building my lobbying practice, most people would try to hire congressman because of the marquee value of the name and things like that. i had a different tact. i would never hire a congressman. i hired one congressmen.
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i was asked by the leadership, a nice guy who could i get a job. i hired him. but he turned at to be utterly worthless. i always hire staff because the staff was hungry and they were killers. and that was the operation i had. what i noticed and what i wrote about in the book is that i would hire staff from the work immediately because i needed it. so come to work tomorrow or come to work next week. but then i started hiring chiefs of staff. when do you want to leave the hill? i know what to leave for two years. ok, in two years, i will hire you. i hired them right then. the moment they knew i would hire them, their whole job change. they're human. you know you are going somewhere else. you have to be at least be thinking about the next job. you do not want it to go away. so what they do, and portola, the real corrupt parts of the
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system and a completely legal and unknown entirely -- when i tell people this, they look at me and it is obvious when i sit, but until they understand it, the stepper becomes -- -- when i say it, but until they understand it, the staffer becomes my staffer. those staffers can never become lobbyists. >> if you think about -- what is striking about the problems you described in the book is that they're completely unrelated, logically at least, to the actual crimes you're convicted of. >> right. >> you were convicted of crimes
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-- this may be an innovation that you want to be humble about, but mike scanlon, whose job was to recruit business leaders who might be affected by some particular legislation so you could produce 5000 very powerful people overnight who would call upon this person and say, no, you cannot possibly do this. that is a steve jobs kind of thing. why did not everybody do this, but nobody was doing it. but you failed to disclose that you had a financial interest in that firm. that is one of the things you were convicted of. there is tax evasion because you're diverting funds to charity. and you had -- but none of the problems you're talking about had anything to do with your
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particular crimes. you could be describing lobbyists who never crossed the line at all and yet are producing all the problems you are talking about. so they're not criminals that are at the source of this problem. >> there are very few criminals, very few bill jeffersons and jack abramoffs. i could not care for the line was. i just wanted to win, so i just kept going. there are some lobbyists who are lazy, too. that keeps them from becoming criminals, for better or for worse. i try to focus people on that it is not what is illegal, but what is legal that is the problem. the lines in the sand or so ridiculously drawn -- in the sand are so ridiculously drawn.
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>> i want to outline the reforms you have outlined. then i want to hire jack abramoff, the lobbyist, to war game those reforms. if they were enacted tomorrow, now i wanted an expert and a 1 allele side of this time. i want an expert lobbyist to help me get around this reform world. the reforms to describe our key ones that i think are very important. number one, you want to eliminate entirely any contribution by those lobbying the government, participating in federal contracts -- you do not want to limit it.
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you want to eliminate it. you should not be able to give some much as $1, zero, you can make a choice. you want to be a lobbyist -- if you want to get money from the government, but you cannot be giving. that is one important category. next, you want to eliminate the revolving door. you should be barred for live from working with a lobbying association that does work with the government. no. 4 is repealed the seventh amendment, which made senators elected so now we have --
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originally, they were appointed by the legislature or the governor. sir repeal the 17th amendment. >> also, all laws -- >> all laws need to apply universally to everybody. right now, congress exempts itself. so we have those reforms. congress has now passed it. overwhelmingly, the president has signed it. now i hire you, jack abramoff, to get my special-interest legislation through the system. what do you do? >> not going to break the law. [laughter] so what does a lobbyist to do in a non-corrupt environment.
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>> well, in this environment. >> if money is removed from the system, as a lobbyist, i have no ability to convey any money or gratuity or anything that could cause gratitude on the part of the public servant toward me and my client. >> but you are not being creative enough, jack. you cannot tell me that you and mike scamming could not together a very nice operation. -- and mike scanlon could not put together a very nice operation. >> who are the six people in the united states that does not get some benefit from the united states government? >> when i say benefit, i do not mean social security checks.
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i'm talking about grants or contracts are getting special favors. >> what about wall street? >> yes. >> wall street can i get any money either. >> any body that gets special attention from the federal government is exempted from giving money. can i give any money. >> -- cannot give money. >> will who cannot give money? >> farmers cannot give money. there are some who believe in certain congressmen and uncertain causes. let's take legalization of marijuana. [laughter] i want to have congress legalize marijuana or i want to
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have congress to ban abortion or do something in the general sense but applies to everybody. it does not apply to my company, my industry, or create a financial incentive for me. i have not drafted legislation nor am i going to. >> i have just hired you. >> i am not a drafter. i have people who do that. but the world that i am trying to get to and that you're trying to get to and that any reasonable person is trying to get to is where bribery is taken out of the system. republicans want to cut the taxes of the very rich. >> the wealthy are getting a tax
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cut. you will see in some things that i think are special- interest and vice versa. it is hard to drill into the details of this. i did not create my book in that way. i should maybe mentioned that, how i came up with these things, these bizarre kind of suggestions that are the opposite of what i used to be, i came up with them in the walking track in prison while i was thinking, what if i were still a lobbyist? what are the kind of reforms would i try to stop? who would i try to stop? the kind of reforms they have now, you cannot buy a congressman a meal. if they sit down and they use a fork and a knife and they eat on a plate, that is a meal.
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but if they stand up and they use their fingers, that they can do. they consider that a reform. you cannot buy and sell a $25 hamburger. i can i go to lunch and have a hamburger with you and it is $25. but if i go to a fund-raising event and i have five $5,000 checks and say, here you go, that is completely legal. in no way is that reform. so what are the kind of things that i would stop? so putting aside the details of it for now, obviously, you drill into these things and they become difficult. but there are plenty of great minds who can do it. i am not one of them. if i were in a system where money was removed, where i
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could not get money, i could not buy them lunch, i could not take them to see the washington redskins -- although i am not sure that was ever a benefit to anybody -- i could not take into a football game or play golf or do airplane travel or anything anybody could do if they walked in, then everything is on the merits politically or philosophically for them. >> i have no disagreement of the effectiveness of the narrow question about what lobbyists need to be allowed to gift or not a gift or give or even the idea of taking lobbyists' out of the business of giving money. charles fried came up with a proposal which is essentially the same, that lobbyists should not be in the business of raising money for people that they lobby. that is fine. but the question is whether that alone is enough.
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the way you have made it more than that is that it feels that you have written this morass in trying to decide when i am allowed to be giving whether or not the issue is special interest to me or a general interest. is a tax carrying the same interest as the [unintelligible] is that a special interest or a general interest? i think that is the morass. a think the ball -- i think the alternative of having a more creative funding system would not be as effective without being so restrictive on the freedom of people to participate in the political process. here you are, jack abramoff, a libertarian, telling all sorts of people they cannot participate in the political process because they have a special interest. but the alternative is, what if
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we fund elections with small contributions? the fair elections act now says that you walked into a system where you get $100 from racism and that is matched by the government. i will rebate you $50 of your taxes and you can use that as a voucher to give to people only take a voucher, plus $100. but all of the funding comes from small dollars. in that system, would we have to worry about the particular benefit i might get from the government is a special interest or not? >> i do not know. i am open to that. [laughter] anything that gets the money out of the system, anything the removes the bride's, basically, is worth considering. there are philosophical issues, like people interested in public financing and things like that.
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i think the essential message i'm trying to put forward is that, to stop the corruption, you have to take up the money. that is what i used when i was being corrupt. that is what does it. that is the deal. >> thank you. we would like now to invite people to participate. our strategy for questions in all of our events is that i will control the queue. i will signal to you and you will get the mike and you will speak. let's start with to dennis. >> dennis thompson. several years ago, i wrote a book called ethics and congress. it obviously had an enormous
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impact on washington. [laughter] >> my favorite book. i saw the movie, too. >> we are waiting for the movie. kevin spacey was otherwise occupied. [laughter] this goes to something that larry was touching on. why should we pay attention to somebody who is convicted of a crime that has actually nothing to do with the reforms that he is proposing? we do not ask barry bonds' about how to make baseball better. we might ask him about how to avoid the temptations of cheating and violating along. and we might ask lobbyists like you about how to actually get reforms through. larry was hiring you. he was lobbying you for his
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proposal. [laughter] but you did not answer that. what you did was a book and do listed half a dozen proposals which i am not sure you are in the best position to suggest. i want to know what is the connection between your recommendations and your experience. one recommendation that larry did not mention and you did not mention, the major one in the book, is that we should have a smaller government. that sounds like the plague of political parties -- the plank of political parties. that again i am not sure how that follows with your experience. >> i appreciate your question. i have done two hundred interviews since i first got
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out of prison. i was in the middle of the world. in terms of -- people ask me how do we know your sincere? how do we know you were telling us the truth? my responses that i am not sure it is important that you know that i am sincere or not. i am not here to win a popularity contest. i do not think that i will win any popularity contests in the next century or so. but i do have the experience in this world and i have been there where a lot people have not been. once i had the benefit of a to buy for cracking in the head, i came a little bit to my senses -- a two by four cracking in the head, i came a little bit to my senses.
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there are 30,000 lobbyists. not because the government is the size it was in 1912. it is because the government is the size it is in 2011. the frustrations that people have is that they're just too many people lobbying, there are too many special interests. i would posit that one of the reasons this is the case is that the government is involved in a lot of things. so when i say that the government needs to get out of a lot of this stuff, sure, i believe in having a smaller government. i am not big on government to begin with. i had to live with the government for two and a half years and it was not fun. but i believe that that is the system that is warning to get rid of the senate -- the special interests. but lobbyists -- what lobbyists
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want, by the way, and what i wanted to some degree is that you want power concentrated. if you could have it, you would have one person making every decision and then you could go lobby that person and make sure that that person is in your pocket. >> right here. >> my name is irwin shapiro and i have not written any book of relevance. [laughter] i have to questions. it seems to me that there are three functions of the lobbyist -- three weapons that the lobbyist has. one is the broad, too is the threat, and three is the sick leave -- one is the bribe, two is the threat, and three is the
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sick leave. a ladder is the excuse of a rationale to do the unbelievable. do lobbying firms have special teams whose sole job is to develop the fig leaf or develop the cover story? or is it just generic in any lobbying firm? >> it is generic in every lobbyist. you want to give political cover to whoever you are asking a favor from. you want to make sure that they have the political cover necessary to get away with it, basically, to do it with a straight face. even something that is reasonable and good and wonderful, that always becomes
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part of the discussion with congressmen and their staff. how can we do this in our district? my view was 40 to 35 congressmen represent the entire country. to me, it was nothing to go to a congressman and i want to get something done in florida. congressman and not just for the district. there for everything. so lobbyists come up with reasons for why that is the sensible at home. >> how would you foresee reforms like you suggested actually coming into being? have you got any master plan? >> i did not know that was important. [laughter] it will be difficult.
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let's not kid ourselves. you're asking the very people who benefit from this life style to get rid of this lifestyle. ultimately, it will be a question of the media shining daylight on this stuff and exposing it like what "60 minutes" did with insider trading. until they did do that, nobody was thinking about that. when i was a lobbyist, we heard about members and staff and they would come in sometimes and said i made a killing in defense or something like that. there will be a big bill. frankly, i thought there were knuckleheads buying 100 shares of something and making $200. who cares? it didn't dawn on me. i did not focus on what they're saying. but it was insider trading, legally. but until the media started talking about it, nobody was
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doing anything about it. then the bill went from six sponsors to 50 something sponsors in a week. if the media continues to focus on the space -- mind you, this is probably what accounts for the fact that congress has an approval rating of under 10%. people look at the congress and look at the government and they think that you guys are a bunch of jerks. you are a bunch of blowhards were getting rich on our dime, usually, and it is not fare so they ignore the system or they get angry about the system or they got an -- they get out and occupy something or they get 80 party or they organize an election. >> at harvard law school in the 1970's, i hooked up with stanley surrey. i became a tax analyst on
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capitol hill. years later, i was sitting on a board of directors in los angeles with alfred bloomingdale. i spent a lot of time with that plan and i ended up on ronald reagan's kitchen cabinet. did they have much of an impact on you? you came from the same neck of the woods, i gather. that is a culture by itself that has not been discussed. but to ignore that culture, that was unique. >> my father was president of the diners club franchise. i met them a couple of times. but i do not think he had a big influence on me. frankly, i did not meet any of the others until toward the end of their lives. it did not really impact me. what shipped me more than anything was my experience at brandeis university where i
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basked in right-wing political bought activism -- political activism. >> here in massachusetts -- you mentioned lobbying at the state level. in massachusetts, we have no problem with corruption, except for the occasional speaker of the house. because of your background in law being around gambling, i would be interested to hear if you have any insights into recently -- into recent legislation passed in massachusetts to authorize gambling. there was some opposition to it, but it was roundly defeated. what should we have been looking for in the lobbying process here in massachusetts? and what should we be looking for? what should we be alert to in
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the ongoing decisions that will be made about where the damage will take place and who will get to profit from it? and how would we go about getting that information? >> everything about the gasoline -- gambling industry is politics. i spent a lot of my time stopping -- everything about gambling industry is politics. i spent a lot of my time stopping gambling. i do not know what happened here. i have not followed it. but stopping gambling is easier than getting something through. the fact that they got it through is remarkable. generally, it does not happen. i am sure there was a lot of money involved, obviously. these campaigns are not cheap. in terms of going forward, what
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you need to be watching for? i think that is probably coming to the degree you can, you want to try to get some legislation through that is doable to prohibit anybody in that industry to giving any money politically to anyone in your state. they did this in new jersey and they kept casinos for years without having any real political power in the state, other than as a an employer. to a degree that it is possible, if i were at this point trying to do something to control it, i would try to prohibit them from giving any money politically at any level. even at the local level, giving to a mayoral race or something like that, these companies can have a tremendous impact. do not forget what kind of trash gets kicked out of a casino. i do not know if it is one casino or several casinos in the boston area. >> it will be three casinos. >> it will likely be very lucrative. if they are smart from the
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other side, if i were the casino, i would use my money to consolidate political control so that, number one, it could never be undone, and no. 2, when i wanted to expand, to do it, and number three, maybe the most important, to make sure that there are not pork in it. >> i have not read the book. can you talk a little bit about the conversion process, the personal reflective, self inquiry-driven conversion process to have gone through to get to replace where you saw what you have done before and as the savory. and can you talk about what it is like to be the object of so much shame and derision and whether you -- and what your hopes are?
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>> i would love to say that, in the middle of my lobbying career, was making but loads of money and it hit me all of some -- all of a sudden that i should not have been in that business. but i cannot say that. it only hit me once i was out of that business. maybe i am the kind of person who needed the entire house caved in on them before they realized that there were living in a house of cards. but that is what happened. with me, my aunt came rather suddenly, -- my end came rather suddenly. within a couple of months, everything was obliterated. it probably took a that. and then there was the two years in prison. for two years, i sat and
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basically tried to work through what was going on. what did i do? first, i thought what are they talking about? i did not do anything wrong? i just did what everybody else does. i just did more of it. so i had 72 seats at the rangers stadium. what is the difference? that is the first thought i had. well, the first thought i had was that this would blow over. it was a little bump in the road. it was no problem. but when the first "washington post" article came out saying that i try is a lot of money to my clients, it was just like "the new york times" putting out an article saying that i had website.
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the first article was should we put this up on their website? is the picture okay? it was that kind of stupidity. it was a different universe. i thought it would go away. basically, i was in denial. that did not last long, by the way. very quickly, i was able to somehow subjectively sit down and get out side of myself and look at what i was and look at what i was doing. i do not want to say that everything i did was wrong. it was not. certainly, most of what i did was legal.
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most of what i did in life, i do not think was wrong or bad. but i was involved in areas that were bad. and those are the areas that i went to prison for. and the things that i went to prison for, i was wrong about and i regret all of it. but it was not a matter of -- i had to look exactly what i did that was legally wrong. i took the approach of let me look at what morally and should have been doing. the things i had studied my whole life that i had somehow separated. i separated by religious and philosophical beliefs from my activities. i'm not the first person to do that, obviously. many people do that. but the fact that i did it, when i woke up to a, it was dreadful
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and terrific for me. and i was in depression. i never thought i wanted to kill myself, but i thought, gee, what did not be better if i were never here. that is a horrible feeling. but i have a family. i have kids and wife who are also suffering. my mother and my father -- my mother passed away, unfortunately. but it is a process and it was a necessary process. by the time i had gone to prison, i had reconstructed my belief system. i had not been able to speak about it because the media was not interested in hearing from me, to be honest. i became a cartoon. i put on a rain hat because it was raining one day. i went to the courtroom. here is an idea of what it is like for someone in my shoes. the media sits outside your house. they accost her family. where are you go, they rush you. the paparazzi are not decent journalists like tom brokaw or things like that.
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what they want is for you to look at them because they want to get a picture of you looking at them. they will scream stuff that you that is unimaginable. or they will cost you physically. they will make you walk into them. i am not as strong as i used to be, but i am not completely week. so i started walking right into them and knocking them over. they ran away. i did not care. that is a weird and horrible situation. so i went to court on a big day. it was january in d.c. it was cold and raining. i got up early. i left my house in the dark. i got to court hours before my court appointed time because i wanted to beat the media there. so i grabbed a hat. i am an orthodox jew. we have hats. it is part of the deal. so i put on his hat and upon his raincoat and i left.
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my wife was sleeping. she would have said, where you nuts? i went out and i walked in and there was none of the media there. i had some things on my mind that day. i was pleading guilty to crimes and going to face the fact that i was being taken away from my family. so i finished and i was with the justice department and the fbi guy who treated me very fairly and very appropriately, never abused me in any way. i know that happens, but it did not to me. i put my hat on and my coat on to leave, thinking, ok. and i walk out and the media starts screaming at me. are you a gangster? are you a mafia guy? who are they talking to? no mobster dresses like this. and it was me.
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oh, my god, i should not have worn my hat and coat. and i became a cartoon. i could not talk to the media. i could not talk to anybody. but before i got to prison, this is what i was thinking. i was thinking, you know, i am part of a system -- i am probably the razor's edge of a system that is destructive and is against everything that i have always thought about for our country. whether it was greed or power or wanting to win, whatever it was, i should not have been there. i should not have been doing that. and i am about to get punished. i knew i was going to prison. and when i went to prison, i did not know how long i would be there. it was not until i was there for 22 months that i was given my sentence. every night in prison is terrible. but to be there and not know when you are leaving prison is indescribable. finally, i got sentenced and i got more time than the justice
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department even asked for. ok, that is fine. i went back and i did my sentence. but when i was there, that is when i started doing my thinking. it is not enough that i know that i am wrong. it is not enough to know that i will never do that again. obviously, i will never do that again. who will hire me as a lobbyist on capitol hill? lobbyist jack abramoff hidta see you -- here to see you. [laughter] it does not feel good to hear things about yourself like this said about me. and they are still saying. i guess you get some thick skin, but you don't get that fake a skin. but i should not be hiding. i should not go away. i should come back and do something about what i was doing.
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in my head, i had experiences of that world that are all like a lot of the people in our country. most of the people who know what i know are scared of talking about it because they are making money with it. i have been attacked pretty severely by my former world, not that i care. a lot of people do not want to hear what i have to say. not for the reasons that they think you're a criminal or a felon or who cares about you. i understand that. but from the point of view of shut up, abramoff, go away and die, and get out of here, you are ruining it for the rest of us. i i consider -- i consider myself a part of the rest of us. [applause] >> jay livingston. your own capital athletics sign $40,000 to end illegal settlers polish and equipment and fighter train even though it was
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not a charity that performed what it stated what it was going to do. why is it that unscrupulous people like you and tom delay feel so close to the plight of israel? >> i do not know. i like ireland, too. i do not know how to answer you. we do not agree on israel. what can i tell you? i went to jail for misusing nonprofit money. i am sorry i did do it. but i am unabashedly for israel.
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>> [unintelligible] >> they were not settlers. but we will have to agree to disagree. >> i am tom ferguson. i was with you on npr a couple of weeks ago on a program on insider trading. i just want to ask you about the analytics of this. it is a very interesting discussion. there are a lot of folks who try to understand the logic of lobbying and have trouble trying to trace it through what they think about how does a congressman or woman price the services they're doing. i ask because of what you look at what is paid and what they get, you get some odd cases. i will make it 6% of the defense
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budget one night for two hundred thousand dollars. then a week later, somebody will contribute $1 million and get a gambling resort for something like that. could you shed some light on the process under which you might call the pricism. >> i do not think there is a rational answer to the question. it is a good question. but my experience is that those members of congress, which is most of them, who are into raising money and trying not to necessarily do what they think is of an illegal quid pro quo, they are just trying to get as much money for anything they do, no matter what it is. if $1 million is available, they will try to get $1 million. if $100,000 is available, they will try to get that. i do not know that there is necessarily a rationale here. it is more that congress fears not being reelected and not
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dancing in the system and not becoming a committee chair person. they will try to get whatever they can get. so it is not necessarily a pricing system. >> let me push a little bit more on the question. it is a very good question. it is one of the puzzles on whether money is it the center of the corruption. one form is that the prices so low. in your book, you talk about the return on been -- return on investment that you got from lobbying. you got some huge percentage return on investment. an economist would say how was that possible? why is it so irrational? does the government not hold out for more? if i am going to get a $1
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billion subsidy, which people get because of the tariff, you should have to pay lobbyists more than just $1 million for that. you should be paying half a billion dollars for that. >> because they are dealing in stolen goods. in essence. this is not a normal business. they are taking things out of the public trust and selling them. you're not going to get drupe cunningham this way -- drew cunningham this way. >> can you walk us through -- presumably, there are some idealists who get elected to congress to go with some public interest in mind. can you walk us through how you go about correcting them? [laughter] what is the rhetoric of that conversation?
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how do real them in -- how do you reel them in? >> when any member of congress shows up in washington these days, the first thing they meet is not a lobbyist. the meet their leadership. and the leadership introduce them to their lobbyists. and they do it this way. you're a new member of congress. the most important thing for you is to get reelected. if we lose your seat, then we will have to fight to get back the time after that. so that is the most important thing. since most of them, 80%, come with the debt, the first thing you have to do is retired your debt. this is even before congress has convened. i am talking about december, after the november elections. here's a group of people who are very good at retiring your debt. that is where it starts. even if they are the best folks
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in the world and they have the greatest -- by the way, some of them will say it. i am not interested. i will not get involved of that. the first year. but then there's the second year. but in 20 years, i will take that two thousand dollars, but i do not sell my vote for two thousand dollars. if somebody does something for you and your your decent person, what is the thing you wrote think in your mind? g. thomas -- g, somebody did something nice for me. you can be a decent person -- i will root for them. i cannot do that, but maybe i can do this. that is how it starts. it is not a moment where somebody walks in and gives
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50,000 votes in casino chips. that is very rare. what i just described you is virtually everybody. it is just a matter of time before they're beholden to the lobbyists. >> thank you very much for being here. i am a professor of pathology at harvard medical school. there is probably a lot of agreement in this room that the root of evil is the money. that is what you were saying. but if a miracle were to happen and there was legislation passed -- as some have been trying to do for a very long time -- to make the system a publicly funded system and get rid of some of the temptation, do you not think that the supreme court would rule lit a first amendment violation?
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in other words, there seems to be a hopelessness about the road to a solution for a problem because for which is rarely understood and excepted. how'd you get rid of it? >> in north carolina, it bans lobbyist contributions in north carolina. it will be interesting to see where that goes. but somebody who chooses path a, their rights and not taken away. they're making a choice whether to engage in lobbying or what ever they are doing. for them to forgo on their right, you do have that.
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it may seem that that case in north carolina may be a seminal case in this regard. it does bring hope that, obviously, if the supreme court says that will not work, we will have to look at other remedies. there are ways around the supreme court, too. they're difficult. there are constitutional amendments. and they're almost impossible. how many times -- when was the last time the constitution was amended? it is certainly before most of these people were born. we will see what happens. >> but david was asking about public funding. what you're talking about is limits. you want to limit people from participating. and you cannot in your heart of hearts believe -- you may have a very accurate political judgment about the likelihood of public funding -- but you can
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really believe that, if all we do islam is, the the wealthiest 1% will not find -- if all we do is limits, that the wealthiest 1% will not find a way around it. >> there are guys who sit around trying to work their way around the system. and they have been prosecuted. i do not want to see people in prison. but that is the penalty for playing games. let me tell you why i am against public funding. first of all, i am a libertarian-time conservative. -- military-type conservative. i am giving them a choice. nobody is forcing anybody to be a lobbyist. i was not forced to be a lobbyist. people make a choice. like all things in life, you give up things a few choose other than. but in terms of public funding, i have a distrust of the
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government. i have to be honest with you. they say that a conservative is a liberal who is mugged. well, a libertarian is a conservative who was indicted. [laughter] i am not trying to disparage everybody who works for the government. but generally, i do not like the idea of putting in the hands of people power to make decisions. >> but then vouchers do not do that. >> i said i was more open to vouchers. >> when i read your book, i thought that was more than the
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franklin approach. i think it is very important that we talk about getting this stuff fixed. we need something that people on the right and people on the left will be able to agree to. i think that might be one way to do it. >> i am jeff bridges. i am a student at divinity school. before was there, i worked in politics for 10 years. it really sucked my soul dry. i think you understand. coming here and going to divinity school, i got involved with occupy harvard. it was a redemptive experience for me. i came here thinking, it is jack abramoff who wrote a book to make money.
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that is what you do. something that happens and you write a book. but when you talk about your experience being arrested and reflecting on how you operated as a lobbyist, it really spoke to me. i believe you. i buy it. i want to know why you're doing what you're doing right now. what you hope to accomplish with the path you have chosen now. >> as i said, what i want to do is that i have some role to play in solving this problem. it is a problem. it is something to recognize that it is a problem. you all recognize it intuitively. i am ashamed that i did not. not only was i in it, i may have read it. so what i am doing now, as hard
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as it is -- it is not easy to sit here and say everything that i am saying to you all. it is not. you're not the only ones i am saying it too. i have said it in front of big tv audiences. i have to believe in their heart of hearts, my family probably wishes i would not say it. they also see -- none of my kids -- i was very political. my wife worked for the republican national committee. not one of my children wants anything to do with american politics, not just because of what happened, but they think it is utterly hopeless. so i want to do something for them. i want to do something to try to move the ball forward.
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i will not do it by myself. i wish i came to this when i was where i was. when i sat in prison, all you think about is how do i get out of here. even an hour earlier, just, please, god, get me out of here. it is impossible to describe what it is like. 24 hours a day, people screaming, six men in a 150- square-foot space. it is a nightmare. you're thinking every minute how to get out of here. of course, i was thinking, don, why did i not think of this when i was a lobbyist -- darn, why did i not think of is when i was a lobbyist. i could've had the laws changed. but i often sit back and think, would if i was still in that game? i could really do some damage. and it occurs to me what has occurred to me since. so i can speak about it. and i wrote about it. i have a book out. i have a $44 million restitution order. this book would have to outsell the bible for me to see any
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money. [laughter] i did not do to make money. people are not making unless your rawlings or whoever. i'm not making a lot of money. i did it to let people know. and if they know, maybe they will get angry. and if they get angry, maybe they will do something. and maybe, maybe, this great country -- and it is a great country and a great people -- will rise up and demand change. >> the last question. make it really, really good. >> a lot of pressure now. [laughter] you were saying before, when your story broke, how you were in denial and you were in a different world. i wondered if you think that politicians and staffers are equally in the nile in a different world.
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>> yes -- equally in denial. >> yes. absolutely. think about folks who can go around trading on insider information and buying stocks on the one hand and then read in the paper that raj rajeratnam gets arrested for doing the same thing. natalie do they not feel bad about it, but a few good about it. -- not only do they not feel bad about it, they feel good about it. they do not get it. why is it that we are so unpopular? why is there a 9% approval rating?
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how is it possible that obama has a better approval rating? are you kidding? they totally dissociate themselves from the reality that everybody else in tbilisi's. as did i -- everybody else intuitively sees. as did i.. >> jack abramoff, thank you for coming. [applause] you will go downstairs. >> ok.
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>> inside a coffee shop. rick perry continuing his 14-day, 44-town tour across iowa today with his wife. they are expected shortly at this bloomer's on central gourmet coffee and gift shop. current polls have governor perry tied for third place with
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former senator santorum and going rich. the caucuses are next thursday. you're watching live coverage on c-span. ♪ ♪
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>> good to see you here. happy new year. how are you? sir. how are you, sir? good to meet you. how are you, sir? good to see you here. thanks for coming out. hey, buddy. are you all right? how are you? pleasure to meet you. how are you all?
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are you all right today? thanks for your service. appreciate you guys. appreciate you being here. how are you, sir? god bless you. >> welcome, everyone. my name is ruth and i just want to take a moment to wish you all a very happy new year a little early. i appreciate you taking the
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time to come out. more importantly we want you to come and caucus for governor perry on the 3rd and i want the also give a shout out to ann over there. she is one of our precinct leaders. and right now it is my distinct pleasure to introduce a very special woman. i met her a couple months ago and i can tell you that you can judge a man by the company he keeps. and there is no finer example than the first lady of texas, anita perry. she is a native of a small town, a professional nurse, has been so for 17 years and just about the best asset that the governor has. so i hand it over to the first lady of texas. anita perry. >> thank you. good morning, everybody. thank you, ruth. great to be in fort dodge, iowa, where i understand i can get a great cup of coffee at bloomers. so thank you. thank you all for joining us
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today. we're so excited to be here. we've had a great trip. we're going to finish strong in iowa. i want to tell you a little bit about a man i've known since i was years old. we dated for 16 years, we've been married for 29. we have our children with us today and i just want to say that there's not a lot about rick perry that i don't know. it's new year's eve. my new year's resolution is going to be i'm going to do everything i can to help get a true leader, a conservative leader elected to the presidency of the united states. [applause] he volunteered for the air force after he graduated from texas a&m. i'm so proud of that. i'm concerned about our country. i'm concerned about our children. we need to get america back working again. and i think he is the man that can do that. so ladies and gentlemen, my
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husband, rick perry. [applause] >> thank you very much. ruth, thank you. you and bob have been awesome. i couldn't have anybody better on the ground in iowa than the houses. they've been absolutely wonderful to work with and these last few days we've been criss-crossing iowa and going to some absolutely fabulous towns. and little restaurants and some of the coolest names. i told somebody we were at the fainting goat yesterday and we were at doeie joey's. and i think we're going to hit the giggling goat here at the next stop. so we're -- and we had to get into fort dodge with that many animal names you had to go to the place where they do all the veterinary supplies. there's a connection there.
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but i want to say thanks for my children being here and the baby and senior one and his beautiful wife meredith. and griffin has been a great hand out on the trail for us and giving lots of speeches and talking about his dad and somebody that he has known a long time and the beliefs and values that we have. and i want to ask all of you to join us on tuesday at the caucus and but i want to say particularly thank you for coming out today on new year's eve as we kind of get 2011 finished up and go into 2012. i want to share something with you that i've always believed and campaigns for president are not just about the candidate. it's really about the people of this country. it's about the values that we have that we share that we've been taught.
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and the fact of the matter is the vote's not really about me. this is about our children, it's about the future of this country, it's about a statement of your values. and who you are going to choose is a reflection of your values. and i've always would be honored to is your vote as a statement of that, of your values and you see reflectd in me the values that are important for you, your family, for this country. and together we're going to build a movement to take this country back to get washington out of our hair as much as we can, because washington is taxing too much, regulating too much, spending too much. and this campaign truly is about restoring hope for the next generation by changing that spending culture in washington, d.c. and ending this stifling debt of 15 plus trillion dollars that's on the backs of the next generation. it's making washington realize
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that it is we, the people, that are in charge in this country. america is not a class society like they have over in europe. and we don't want to import any more european values into this country. america -- and it is the people -- we are not the subjects of the government. the government is subject to the people. [applause] so please remember one thing from today that, from our little gathering here. i hope it is this question. why should you settle for anything less than an authentic conservative who will share your values and your vision, and do it without apology in washington, d.c.? i hope that that is the question that you ask. and i have got the greatest respect in the world for my
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opponents, the men and women on the stage with me and that are asking for your support. i respect them greatly. but you've got to ask yourself. if we replace a democrat insider with a republican insider, do you think washington, d.c. is going to change anything? it's not. and i am that limited government conservetive that will give washington a complete overhaul, walk into washington, d.c. and truly give it an overhaul. there are other campaigns that campaign as conservatives but the records don't always square with the rhetoric. and senator santorum is a good man. he has got a good family. i respect him substantially. but we do have differences and i think it's appropriate that we talk about our differences, and those differences couldn't be clearer on one of the most important issues this election and that is spending. i think the economy and the spending that is going on in
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washington, d.c. is probably at the top of most people's list of important issues. and if you want to truly overhaul washington, d.c., we can't do that with a senator who has voted to raise the debt ceiling eight different times, allowing our debt to grow from $4.1 trillion to $9 trillion on his watch. that's so much debt, it even exceeds what president obama has done in the white house. and what's so important, i've got to ask rick, what is so important that compelled you to add greater debt to our children's charge card? was it the bridge to nowhere that you voted for? was it the montana sheep institute you voted for? was it the iowa rain forest you voted for? was it support for the greatest entitlement program since lyndon johnson's great society, which is medicaid part d? now, rick is defending those earmarks on the principle of
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federalism. the pork barrel spending where senators scratch one another's back is not federalism. that's about fleecing the american public. and i raise these issues because in the end elections come down to differences. and what i'm telling you is you don't have to settle for someone that's going to change or someone that's not going to change washington, d.c.'s culture. you don't have to sell yourself short by trying to tie your hope to a washington's insiders. you can choose from one of the folks that are on the ticket with me that have 63 years in congressional time in totality. they are the ones driving this debt, and these earmarks. or, you've got a choice. you can pick a governor who signed six bludgets over the course of my time who worked with the private sector to create over 1 million jobs in
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my home state. i happen to believe the federal government ought to do a few things and do those few things very well and get out of the way and leave you alone. we need to end the earmarks, the bailouts, pass a balanced budget amendment. this massive debt cannot continue to go on. those who got us into this massive debt will not get us out of it. i'm asking for your vote because of your conservative values, and i'm asking for your vote because it reflects my values growing up on that small farm in the middle of nowhere. on the farm i learned the values of hard work and family and faith, that government doesn't exist to provide benefits but it is there to protect the freedoms and to safeguard our rights. it was an honor to follow in my father's footprints to be in the united states air force. my conservism spans the
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spectrum from fiscal issues to national security to social responsibility. you know, some talk a good game. i have delivered. i protected unborn children by signing a budget that defunded planned parenthood and shut down 12 of their clinics in the state of texas. i signed a defense of marriage act into law in the state of texas. [applause] some candidates they campaign on their voting record on bills that never even made it to the president's desk but i'm campaigning on ideas that i have signed into law. i will be the anti-establishment outsider who goes to washington, d.c. with a sense of purpose. and that purpose is to make washington as inconsequential in your life as i can make it. and the key to getting washington off our backs is to i think create a part-time congress that stops spending our children's inherit kns, cut their pay, cut the time that they spend in washington, d.c.,
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send them home to get a regular job like everybody else has and allow them to live under the laws that they pass in washington, d.c. that is our mission and i hope you will join me in that mission. [applause] the fact is your country is calling you and your children are waiting for you to answer that call. when the lord said whom shall i send? who will go for us? and isiah said here am i. send me. this is your country. taking her back is your calling. i will ask you to join me in echoing the words of the profit isiah, here am i, send me. i ask you to brave the weather this tuesday, whether it is blue skies and sunny or whether there's a snow storm going on. just brave the weather. go to the caucus, caucus for us. and i will make this pact with
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you. if you will go to the caucuses on tuesday and have my back, i will have your back for the next four years in washington, d.c. god bless you, and thank you all for coming out and being with us. thank you. [applause] ruthor, we're going to answer a few questions, if we can. yes, sir. >> you alluded to your defense of the unborn by defunding planned parenthood. what about, where do you stand on exceptions for rape and incest? >> i sibed a parenthood pledge back in the middle of december and i actually met a lady at the gift of life viewing that gave me a real new sense. i had exceptions for rape and incest and the life of the
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mother. and this is a lady who was conceived because of rape. through that act. but the conception that she shared with me was a wonderful thing. and she asked me, as she looked me in the eye and said, is my life not worth saving? and at that particular point in time, she really had an impact on me that those two exceptions, if you are truly going to be standing up for life, then having only the exception for the life of the mother is appropriate. and so i have not only signed that pledge, but i am very comfortable that i made the right decision from the standpoint of modifying and strengthening my pro-life
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position. i'm one of the most pro-life governors in the country. we signed parentle notification, parentle consent. we passed a law this last session of the legislature that requires an individual who is getting an abortion to see a son gram first so that they can see that young human being inside of them. and i'm very proud to stand up with our founding fathers as i look at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as things that americans and america is supposed to be about. and when we talk about life, we're talking about all innocent life. [applause] >> rebecca, yes. >> while still sitting governor of texas will you push for -- >> i'm not planning on being
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the sitting governor of texas much longer. but we'll speak up on that issue regardless of where we are. let me share that with you. yes, sir. >> i don't mean to put you on the spot. >> all right. that sounds like a setup. >> are you familiar with a man named jake howard? >> jacob howard? >> yes, sir. >> i don't believe i am. >> he wrote the 4th amendment. >> ok. >> i was wondering if you could tell me a little bit something about the 14th amendment. i would like to read the first clause if i may and go from there. all persons, foreign or naturalized in the united states subject to the jurisdiction thereof. >> right. >> citizens of the united states [inaudible] continue to edkate in this country?
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>> actually the 14th amendment, why it was written was dealing with the issue of citizenship for individuals who had been slaves. and so righting a wrong in our country's history is what the 14th amendment was really all about. this issue of should we be educating individuals who have come into this country illegally is a symptom of a bigger problem that we've got and that happens to be that the federal government has been an abject failure at securing our border for years and years. as the governor of the state of texas for the last 11 years, i've had to deal with this directly. there's not anybody on that stage with me that has had to deal with this issue.
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they talk about i would do x or i would do y. i've had to deal with it. i've had to ask our legislature for over $400 million to send to the border of texas and mexico, constitute texas ranger recon teams of which we have sent to the border to fight the crime whether it's the illegal drug traffic or the trafficking in weapons or whether it's the illegal individuals that are trying to come into the country. securing our border is the issue that will address all of these whether it is the education of individuals who are here illegally or whether it is health care thrass here illegally. >> it is my understanding -- and of course i was educated quite some time ago in terms of grade school and high school. i finished with an advanced
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degree in 1978. but it's my understanding of the constitution of the united states was designed and written for its citizens. and it doesn't seem to me that it's working out that way. >> you're absolutely correct. we have been put in a situation, whether it's arizona having to pass a law to deal with immigration or whether it's what we've had to do in the state of texas dealing with individuals who are not citizens but the federal government requires us, here's one of the things that i will tell you as the president of the united states you will never see me directing my justice department to go to another state and sue them on an issue that is their sovereign right. [applause] >> i have an economic question.
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the last candidate was here i asked the same question i did not like his answer. so if you answer right i'll vote for you. >> that's why we show up. that's what this is really all about. >> would you be in favor with what obama did with the qe 1 and 2? david walker's office came up here said he is going to put another $2 billion back into the economy. are you in favor of that? >> no. let me share with you why. all you're doing with this, which actually it's my understanding was put into place as an experiment in japan initially. and i will suggest to you it's been a monumental failure. it's a monmental failure because the quantitative easing is just the printing of more money and supply and demand is simple. i know if you print more money
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that makes the dollar in your pocket less worth less. and that is -- let me just ask the crowd, are you better off today than you were $4 trillion ago? >> the two and a half years obama was in office, we've lost 48% of the dollar. that's hurting retired people, it's hurting us all over. and right now i can tell you i know a year ago they said 77% of people live paycheck to paycheck i can tell you it's about 80%. i ran for office and it was 80% here. every time they do that hurts us. >> yes. and frankly we need to get the fed back to single purpose. and that is for no other reason than to control the prices of inflation. >> could you address our second
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amendment rights with regards to fast and furious and the fact that it's not just for hunters. >> the second amendment is her question was twofold would i address the second amendment and then how this fast and furious effort -- and there has been some individuals who have questioned whether or not this entire fast and furious operation was more about painting a bad picture of those of us who own guns and particularly gun store operators et cetera than it was about tracking these weapons. either way, i will consider it to be very, very bad public policy for the administration to have been involved with it, for the attorney general not to
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have known about this. or if he did know about it, then he has misrepresented himself to the united states congress. either way, he ought to be fired. the attorney general knowing about movement of those types of weapons into mexico is an absolute failure of leadership, in my opinion. so the second amendment is about gun ownership. it's not about having a militia. it is about the private citizen having the right to protect themselves and their property in this country. and may it always be that way. [applause] [inaudible] comment as much as question. during the first two years of the obama administration when the republican movement were in
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dire need of leadership most of the candidates were object sidelines waiting for the starting guns to start off. there are exceptions to that. i appreciate that. so my question is, if you're elected will you commit to being a leader full time, 24/7, 365 day as year and for your full term, instead of just when it's convenient and low risk? [applause] >> i cannot wait to get in the fray. i can't wait to get there to ask men and women who share my philosophy that are truly patriots, who will come in and head up agencies like the e.p.a. that will go in and pull back every regulation that has gone forward for the last five years, since 2008, and audit
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them for whether or not they create jobs, or they kill jobs. have men and women in the health and human services agency that are committed to the tenth amendment when we talk about block granting back to the states and letting the states make the decisions on programs like medicaid. i intend to have an individual as the secretary of education whose sole responsibility will be to dismantle the department of education and wipe it out, send those functions back to the states so they the members of the legislature in iowa can decide best how to educate your children. there are a number of those types of agencies that frankly need to be dismantled and zero funded. and allow the states to get back. last question. yes, sir. >> iowa is made up of small
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towns. i'm interested in what was it like when you were born and raised in small town texas. what did you do? >> not a lot. actually, there was a lot. i'm just pulling your leg. people think that just because you live 16 miles from the closest place that had a post office that somehow or another it was a very dreary and nonexciting existence. if i were given the opportunity to live anywhere in the world, i would still pick the little community where i grew up, because the world revolved around school, there were 110 kids grades 1-12, there abouts, around church, and around boy scouts. i was a 4-h member and showed club calves. so every day was busy. every day was myself and lots
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of acres of dry land cotton farm to explore and what have you. and i would suggest it was not a lot different than growing up in the mid 1950s in iowa. and -- the president of the school board was also the super attendant of the sunday school and was also my scout master. my football coach was the civics teacher. he was the principal of high school. he was the basketball track and football coach. and he drove the school bus. so that's the -- people would say, the house i grew up didn't have running water until probably 55, 56, or indoor plumbing -- let me put it that way. but that was -- there might be
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some people who said we grew up poor and without -- and we didn't have a lot of material things. but we were rich in family, we were rich in faith, we were rich in experiences, we were rich in a community that i will forever be grateful that i had the opportunity to grow up in that community. and my mom and dad still live there and in the same house that we've been in since 1967. you're the last question for sure. i'm sorry. [inaudible] >> one for your wife? >> you may. >> the whole issue of health care is disturbing to me that we would have a government that would craft this behind closed doors when the president ran for office saying he would have the transparency of government. and so my desire is to see you or others like you go in and
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review all this and actually read it before it's passed and have meaningful input from all the various groups, providers for myself and people that are consumers, so that we can get something that will actually work for both government and for the consumers themselves. >> i agree with you. but you've got to take obama care off the books first. [applause] . .
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i am also very concerned about our veterans and returning veterans. when one out of every four veterans can i get a job when they return from defending our freedom and one out of every six veterans is homeless. i am concerned about that too. i have a variety of issues i am certainly interested in and would relish the opportunity to do that. thank you. >> listen, thank you all for coming out. have our back next tuesday and we will have your back the next four years in washington, d.c. god bless you.
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>> you are looking at live coverage here on c-span of texas governor and republican presidential candidate rick perry just leaving a stop at a coffee shop in iowa as he continues his 14-day, 44-town
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tour across iowa. from here, he is headed to a meet and greet at a place called the giggling goat. no schedule for tomorrow, but a number of stops on the monday, january 2nd. current polls have governor. virtually tied for third place with former senator rick santorum. and former house speaker newt gingrich. at this stop, he criticized rick santorum for raising the debt ceiling eight times when rick santorum was in the senate. he also criticized his vote for the so-called bridge to nowhere. in the last iowa caucuses in 2008, barack obama won the democratic caucuses and went on
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to win the presidency. might -- mike huckabee won the republican caucus, but dropped out of the race two months later. see what a caucus looks like at c-span.org. every morning, live from iowa, political guests are taking your calls on "washington journal." we will have live coverage of the caucuses and the results of the nearly 1800 caucuses, plus a candidate's speeches. for more resources, use the c- span campaign 2012 website 4 images from the campaign trail. see what the candidates have said on issues that are important to you. read the latest on candidates and political reporters. as the republican candidates
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make their way across iowa before tuesday's caucuses, more live political events later today as you see on the screen. in about an hour, mitt romney's wife and meets with the voters at the divine coffeehouse. the former massachusetts governor is spending the morning in new hampshire. he is planning to return to iowa later this afternoon for a number of political events in the next few days. this event today is at about 1:15 p.m. eastern here on c- span. when it is over, we will take your phone calls and comments. also visiting iowa this afternoon, rick santorum, as he holds a campaign rally with his supporters. you can see that event at 6:00 p.m. eastern. watch both events live online or listen on c-span radio. >> do not take this the wrong way, but wikkipedia is not
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interested in the truth. wikkipedia it is interested in what can be verified as a reliable source. >> as the creator of wikkipedia, william explains the ins and outs of wikkipedia. >> it has gone through editorial layers. that is a phrase that blotters laugh at. we have uncovered news stories that have done a bad job. we are more likely to press something from the washington post or new york times than something on a blog site. in order for a blotter to be proved right, you usually need the traditional gatekeeper of media. >> william discusses his role as editor of wikkipedia said sunday on q&a.
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in his last weekly address of 2011, president obama highlights his achievements of the past year and discusses the economic challenges that lie ahead for 2012. he is followed by the republican weekly address by georgia senator johnny isaacson, who also talked about his party's agenda to create jobs in the new year. >> hello, everybody. as 2011 comes to an end and we look ahead to 2012, i want to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. the last year has been a time of great challenge and great progress for our country. we ended one war and began to wind down another. we dealt a crippling blow to al-qaeda and made america more secure. we stood by our friends and allies around the world through natural disasters and revolutions. and we began to see signs of economic recovery here at home, even as too many americans are still struggling to get ahead. there's no doubt that 2012 will bring even more change. and as we head into the new year, i'm hopeful that we have what it takes to face that
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change and come out even stronger -- to grow our economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class. i'm hopeful because of what we saw right before christmas, when members of congress came together to prevent a tax hike for 160 million americans -- saving a typical family about $40 in every paycheck. they also made sure americans looking for work won't see their unemployment insurance cut off. and i expect congress to finish the job by extending these provisions through the end of 2012. it was good to see members of congress do the right thing for millions of working americans. but it was only possible because you added your voices to the debate. through email and twitter and over the phone, you let your representatives know what was at stake. your lives. your families. your well-being. you had the courage to believe that your voices could make a difference. and at the end of the day, they made all the difference. more than anything else, you are the ones who make me hopeful about 2012.
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because we've got some difficult debates and some tough fights to come. as i've said before, we are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class. and in many ways, the actions we take in the months ahead will help determine what kind of country we want to be, and what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. as president, i promise to do everything i can to make america a place where hard work and responsibility are rewarded one where everyone has a fair shot and everyone does their fair share. that's the america i believe in. that's the america we've always known. and i'm confident that if we work together, and if you keep reminding folks in washington what's at stake, then we will move this country forward and guarantee every american the opportunities they deserve. thanks for watching, and from michelle, malia, sasha, bo and myself, happy new year. >> hello, i'm senator johnny
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isakson from georgia. first, i want to send my -- as a businessman who ran a company in the private sector for 22 years, i have always set priorities. i would like to talk about my goals and commitments for the american people for 2012. it is no secret that the number one issue facing our country is jobs. our number one goal is to make it easier for american small businesses to create jobs. we will accomplish this by focusing on three things, a fundamental tax reform, energy reform and security. in 2012, republicans will continue to fight for much needed tax reform. it is critical if we want to see our economy grow in this country. we should do away with specialized tax deductions,
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broaden the tax base and close loopholes. many of these suggestions were included in president obama's on deficit reduction proposal, the simpson-bowles plan. unfortunately, president obama chose to read checked that plan. -- reject the plan. democrats have pushed over and over again to raise taxes on the american family and small businesses to pay for their unsustainable spending habits. this is absolutely the wrong solution, especially in a time of recession. instead, we must pick our way out of this debt by reforming our tax system, cutting spending, and extending opportunities for businesses to grow. in 2012, republicans will continue to fight to remove the shackles on american small- business. this is one of the ways we can empower businesses to begin hiring again. it is one of the keys to
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bringing our country out of this recession. the burden of over regulation has resulted in small businesses holding capital on the sidelines and freezing plans to hire new workers. american businesses cannot plan ahead because they fear the next expensive regulation might be coming from the federal government. the federal government cannot regulate our country into prosperity. our job as legislators is to see to it that there is a level playing field for businesses, entrepreneurs and workers. our job is not to eliminate risk. if you eliminate risk, you eliminate reward. if you eliminate reward, you eliminate capitalism, the very foundation of our economy. we intend to remove our dependence on foreign oil. we can accomplish this goal by tapping into our domestic resources in an environmentally responsible way such as through
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offshore drilling and shale extraction. we must look into wind, solar, nuclear and others if we're ever going to end our dependence on foreign while. this past year, republicans pushed for the construction of the keystone pipeline to transfer 700,000 barrels of oil each day from canada to the united states. this would create tens of thousands of jobs for the american people. the keystone pipeline is exactly the type of energy project this country needs. as we enter into this new year, many have predicted that congress will be too consumed with the fall elections to accomplish anything significant. americans cannot wait until after the november elections. they need our -- they need us to do our jobs and do them now. republicans stand ready to do that. we're ready to go to work in 2012 to get the american people back to work. god bless you and god bless
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america and the new year. >> again, more live political events coming up today as republican candidates make their way across iowa before the state caucuses. at about 1:15 p.m., mitt romney's wife meets voters at the divine coffeehouse. mrs. romney spent the morning in new hampshire. mitt romney plans to be back in the state -- mitt romney spent the morning in new hampshire. he plans to be back in iowa in the next few days. when this event is over, we will take your phone calls and comments.
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>> at an outdoor rally, new jersey governor chris kristi worked to rally mitt romney supporters.
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before we get to calls, we want to remind you that we are covering candidates in iowa today. rick perry is our first live event today. is an event at a coffee and gift shop. rick perry will be there at
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11:30 a.m. eastern time. you can watch live coverage on this network, c-span. in the meantime, the rick perry campaign released a new online ad. here it is. >> hi, i am rick perry. as we travel across the state, i am awed by your dedication. from cafes, town halls and churches, we have talked about our kids future. you know my record, creating 1 million jobs while the rest of the nation lost two million. i have proposed a part-time congress, cut their pay, make them accountable. i'm honored to have your support on january 3rd. i am rick perry, an outsider who will overhaul washington, and i approve this message. host: again, look for live
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coverage of rick perry, and ronnie and rick santorum later today. first call from the independent line. edward. caller: great program. i wanted to give you some numbers. by educational background is i have a ph.d. in accounting from new york university. i know it is sort of a boring profession, but i teach in the m.b.a. program. i would like to give you a number. there the numbers on reagan's defense budget. $312 billion a year. obama defense budget is $700 billion. that is really double. the average person on social security makes $930 a month.
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that is not a lot of money. then i would like to give you a number on food stamps. the food stands average is $200 a month, which is $6.50 a day. so, i think that with a $2.5 trillion trust fund for social security, i mean, $930 a month is not what you would call an overly abundant entitlement. host: bring this to the i was voting, the i was story. can you make a connection -- i was voting, iowa story. can you make a connection? caller: it should be addressed.
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host: thank you, edward. barbara. any observations this morning? caller: i would like to know, why is it when you all have guests on your show or when you hear ads with these republicans just bare face lying, why haven't these republicans been addressed? rick perry said he was against obama or on faith. -- war on faith. obama did not tell people not to be able to pray in school. that was done 40 years ago when this man was 10 years old. mitt romney had an ad where the president was quoting john mccain. he knew it was not the president's words. my thing is, i am so glad we
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have tv and people can really look at these republicans to know that they are not for the american people. their biggest thing is to get this black president out of office. but guess what? it is not going to happen. you know, it is not going to happen because they never say what they are going to do for this country. they always say obama, obama. host: thank you, barbara, calling from chicago. you mentioned ads. we will see several more over the 90 minutes of this program. myrtle beach, fred, republican. caller: i do not see why republicans are even bothering to run. obama it is the fourth greatest president that has ever lived. i am sure after another four years he will be the greatest public -- president that has
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ever lived. host: what do you feel about the republican field? caller: they want to vote for anyone who can be obama, and i guess mitt romney is going to be it. host: how is ron paul doing? can you tell us? caller: to the far right rednecks, he is doing pretty good. to the middle rednecks like myself, he is not. host: thank you. rick perry is going back home to texas for the weekend. we will tell you -- ron paul is going back home to texas for the weekend. we will tell you more about that in a minute. he is adding an unpredictable element to the caucus. several democratic voters are planning to switch sides and cast republican ballots. anyone who shows up at a
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republican caucus, including democrats, independents and libertarians can join the gop or switch their party affiliation on the spot. congressman paul is in a tight race for third place. he is likely to benefit from democratic crossovers. texas, our next call, a democrat. good morning. caller: thank you to c-span. i have been following this iowa caucus thing like you would not believe. my prediction is that ron paul will be third, rick santorum second, and newt gingrich first.
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my main concern is that congress is not funding doctor's care for medicare. as of january, they're going to lose 27% of their payment for taking care of medicare patients. this has been going on since we have had the extreme right wing tea party leading our house of representatives. americans do not need to ask, are we better off. we need to ask, are we better off with an extreme right wing tea party congress or are we better off with a democratic congress? we do not need to change presidents. we need to give president obama some help by giving him a democratic house and the democratic senate. there is so much i could talk about, the thank you so much. i want to ask all my brothers and sisters to hold their nose
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and vote democrat and then they will survive. thank you. host: we are asking your opinion on the iowa caucuses. they're taking place on january 3rd. if you cannot get through by phone, contact us via twitter. we will read some of your tweets as the morning progresses. also facebook is another way to share your thoughts. we will try to get a couple of those on air as well. detroit, michigan, meantime. tom, a democrat. what are you reading, hearing or seeing that is moving you? caller: when the debates first
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started happening, 18 months ago or sometime -- it seems like the republicans have been debating for a long, long time already, and we still have however many months until november of next year. anyway, it goes beyond that. it does not really matter what all these politicians in washington are jockeying for. i wish there was some democrat who will be willing to challenge president obama, because i think that would make president obama a better candidate. if somebody would challenge them, maybe an independent, it doesn't have to be a democrat -- it is all beside the point because of what is happening in the world right now. iran, there was nothing in the new york times this morning about iran is threat to blockade one-fifth of the oil
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supply in the world. but there was nothing in the paper this morning. two days in a row there are stories about iran threatening to do this stuff. and it is not just iran. it is syria, spain, portugal, everywhere. there are financial problems no one can handle and no one seems to know how to handle. this whole republican thing in iowa, the caucuses, it is beside the point. there's too much else going on. host: here is the front page of the des moines register. there is a shot of michele bachmann signing a poster. they say the bachmann crowd was small. the campaign shows flagging momentum. she drew smaller crowds than other candidates in campaigns
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tops. ron paul defended foreign policy views like doing away with preemptive military attacks. then they point out that romney takes it outside. to the left of the small blurbs is a picture that is making news everywhere. it is newt gingrich dabbing at it here at an event friday, something we had live on c-span. one analyst says the previous candidates have paid a price for crying. newt gingrich had a terrible moment when he talked about his mentally ill mother and the kinds of -- his mentally ill mother. it is one of the things i could make or break a candidate.
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how ita quick look at played out yesterday. >> identify my mother with being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy and her friends. but late in her life she ended up in a long-term care facility played by disease and depression. that brings me to the whole issue of quality long-term care. that introduced me to alzheimer's. my views on brain science come directly from dealing with [ chokes up] the real problems of real people in my family. it is not a theory. it is my mother.
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host: that is newt gingrich on friday. next call, lives in texas, independent. good morning. caller: i would like to first of all say that i am sure there is a great deal of stress. it does seem candidates have a personal connection with something they become more activated. i refer back to -- i believe it was one of the secretaries of state or something who went to africa with pagano and came back a changed person -- bono and came back a changed person. i have a couple of comments. one would be the emphasis of
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religion. i live in texas under rick perry. by the way, waiters and waitresses were here for $2.75 an hour. those are all the jobs he created. i know that we are not supposed to have laws either prevent or encourage any particular religion, but i am concerned that all of these self- proclaimed christians or self- proclaimed social conservatives as they say -- ron paul is interesting, were it not for that. i find it that, you know, you say in your mind, what would jesus do. i do not know if you remember the bumper sticker. it seems like republicans would be much more gracious when it comes to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the infirm because that is exactly what jesus said it was all about. that is my one concern. my other concern is, for
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goodness sake, everyone needs a civics lesson. president obama can suggest laws, but he does not make the laws. i wish people would understand, it is his job to deal with foreign policy and trade in terms of war and so forth. it is congress's job to make the laws. the overuse of the filibuster and so forth -- oh gosh, i could go on. a new congress, like the lady said earlier, would be best. keep our president and get a new congress. as far as the iowa caucuses, i hope people vote not as much on religion as they would on generally what is good for the whole country. we have a lot of different police here. i will not take up any more time. thank you for allowing me to speak. host: press is for calling. michael is on the republican line from pittsburgh,
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pennsylvania. caller: i am concerned about that arehe group's petitioning, the liberal groups that are preventing the voting process from occurring. i think that should be stopped. i do not think this is any place for protest. i think that once again they are trying to disrupt things. but my call was about ron paul. i am a ron paul supporter. i think that he has the greatest potential for change, and not change just for change's sake, but it changed to bring back fundamentals and bring back the constitution and things like that, fundamental principles that made our country so great over the years. it is a complete 180. i think there is nothing wrong with going back to things. everybody keeps saying we should keep going forward. i think that is not a good thing. unless you have something to
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grab onto. host: how you think he will do on tuesday? caller: i think he will do very well because ron paul is the only candidate i know of that has the greatest potential for attracting liberal and democrats and independents. to his platform, which has not believe in the republican establishment kind of foreign policy and the same big money control that mitt romney seems to have acquired. host: 11 pennsylvania. how might ron paul play -- you live in pennsylvania. how might ron paul play in pennsylvania? >> caller: right now, he is not playing very well because the major media has such control over how people perceive these candidates. but i think once he comes to pennsylvania, as he has an iowa,
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and once people get to hear the real message unfiltered by media, i think he will play very well. host: here is a twitter message. a good thing this caucus does not count for anything, one viewer writes. no damage to have people register only for a day. we will be talking a little later in the program with a former political columnist. he is now teaching in running the paul simon institute in iowa. he comes up at 8:30 a.m. eastern. back to newt gingrich. the lead story in the new york times talks about the very powerful past ads that are having -- pac ads that are having a very powerful influence.
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that is a story in the "new york times and." it is actually there early today. we should point out the supporters of newt gingrich are going to put out a 30 minute special tonight. the times also writes on this. they point out that the campaign is short on cash, unable to buy much at time of its own. well-financed allies are coming to his rescue in iowa. there is the conservative magazine and website called newsmax which is putting out a 30 minute special on newt gingrich for the weekend. here is a small clip from that ad. >> in 1978, newt gingrich won his first election to congress, representing part of the atlanta suburbs. once in washington, he began to confront the usual politics and
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became a leading ally of ronald reagan. he worked to secure a military buildup that helped defeat the soviet union. under his leadership, congress and the welfare state. he began to confront those republicans and democrats in congress for their cozy, insider deals. >> this 30 minute and is airing in all of iowa's major tv markets. it is hosted by michael reagan. he claims that newt gingrich is carrying forward the reagan legacy. next call from south carolina, independent. south carolina, it is coming up soon there. caller: we cannot wait for ron paul to be our president. host: what you like ron paul? caller: because he tells the
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truth. he has said the same thing 25 years. i'm 58 years old. i have never voted. i am never going to vote in my life because they all live. but for ron paul i'm going to vote because he tells the truth. he is in thing the same thing for 25 years and nobody would listen to him. now he finally gets the chance to be something and i think the country ought to get behind him because he is probably our last chance. obama has not done anything. i was for him, that i did not vote for him. he lies, lies, lies. we do not even know if he is american or not. he says he is christian. all he wants his money and power. i guess americans can do what they want to do, but if they want to get out of this whole they have dug, they better go with something new.
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vote for ron paul. thank you. host: ron paul and mitt romney are leaving the stage in iowa to their rivals this weekend. their rivals are making their final pitches. it romney is to campaign in new hampshire today. ron paul has gone home to his home state of texas. some of the writing this morning suggests that he can afford to go home. he is very well established in iowa and they're not too worried about it. other opinions suggest that some of the criticism he has been taking from various areas, that he does not want to respond to it is critical weekend. georgia, and democratic caller, what is your name? caller: joyce. host: go ahead. caller: i am from florida.
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host: florida, go ahead. caller: i have been following the caucuses also. i do not think any of them should be president. republicans, all they want to do is take, take, take. i think president obama is the best thing that ever happened to all of us. he does not want to take from somebody poor because we really are scrubbing it. host: is there any candidate you are worried about defeating the president? caller: i like ron paul. he is being honest. i like him from the beginning. but i am an obama fan. he is the only one who seems like he is for real. he just seems like he is telling the truth. the rest of them will say anything to get to the white house. host: thank you.
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north carolina is on the line now, republican caller. horacio, go-ahead. caller: my view on the iowa caucus is i follow it quite closely because i watch c-span a lot. hello? host: we are listening. caller: i am sorry. you was moving your legs and i thought you was interrupting. i would want to say that the last caller said she was for ron paul because he is honest. i believe that is just trying to get people. ron paul could not be obama. they say nobody could be obama but ron paul. i beg to differ. it is mitt romney. i do not think the papers on him
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saying he made racist remarks are dishonest. look, i am not a mormon, but i have never met a mormon that was not a hard-working and fair minded and honest person. host: that he read this tweet -- let me read this week. mitt romney is nothing more than a moderate liberal. it is time for voters to wake up and back conservatives. caller: mitt romney is from michigan. he was born and raised there. his dad was rich, but his dad was born in mexico city and was dirt poor. if anybody goes to wikkipedia and reads his dad struggle before he ran for president but was be out by nixon and later went to work as the hud secretary for nixon, if they would really read up on willard
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mitt romney and his dad, they would find that this man is a great man and he does speak the truth. host: thank you. caller: wait a minute. i need to make another point because you give a lot of people all lot of time. host: go ahead. caller: i want to make a point about barack obama. i would like for everyone to go back to 2009 when his first appointment for green jobs was van jones. there is a video on where he is saying, talking to a group of people, and she is smiling and saying here is a guy we have really wanted to get for a long time. no doubt that they vented van jones. ok. he was a devout communist and
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spent time in prison and was a radical. host: ok, i'm going to let you go. you have had plenty of time. we want to mention that although mitt romney is not in iowa today, his wife will be meeting with voters. we will have her at 1:15 p.m. eastern time. she is going to meet with the voters, and we will stay there later in the day for a campaign rally by rick santorum, the former pennsylvania senator. that rally will be at 6:00 p.m. we have three live events today, rick perry, and romney and senator rick santorum. good morning. what are your observations from the hawkeye state? caller: i have had knee surgery and been confined to a bed for the past two weeks.
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if somebody really wanted to do in al qaeda all they would have to do was play these political ads. that think everybody down in guantanamo would have probably given up the ghost and decided to go straight. these ads have been relentless. i was pretty much a lifelong republican and i dropped out of the republican party last may, mostly because of what i see as the problem with the freshmen in the congressional house. i think they're pretty much nihilists that are trying to undo 50 or 60 years of what i consider to be social progress. that is one reason i am not going to go to the caucuses and i'm not going to support any of the current candidates who are republican because i would not vote for any one of those guys. if a republican president gets elected, i think that the world
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that my kids grew up in -- i have four kids, the oldest is 31, the youngest is 23 -- i think they will grow up in a world completely different than the one i grew up in. host: thank you. caller: i am an independent. i voted for barack obama. i will vote for him again. i became an independent because i realized how partisan both parties are, and i felt like i am not either party. my dad as a republican. my mom is a democrat. the candidates in iowa -- i do not know. i would never vote for newt gingrich if my life depended on a because he thinks poor children should be janitors at their school and i think that is ridiculous. i think ron paul -- his people scare me just a little bit.
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they say things like i want to bring back the constitution. it is a weird thing to say. if you really understand our background, it does not work like that. i i want to quickly say that rick perry had an added that said obama is attacking our religion. whose religion? where does that come from? there is so much misinformation out there. if the last thing i wanted to say about the republican candidates was mitt romney, i would never vote for mitt romney. i love all human beings equally, but i could not vote for a mormon. i'm not prejudiced against mormons, but we lived in an all- mormon neighborhood, and they would tell my kids things like
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they cannot go out on sunday. they have some things about them i did not agree with. host: we want to get some of their voices in. we have 10 minutes left in this segment. we will then learn more about iowa with the republican cold chairman. nashville, tenn., rachel, a republican. welcome to the program. caller: a couple things to say -- i used to think a lot of the iowa caucuses, but if you could switch over, as ron paul's representatives suggested, just for one day, there are not really truly republicans, if you ask me. a couple callers ago said we
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want -- we want to teach people to fish, not give them fish. ron paul put those supporters scared me, too. -- ron paul's supporters of scared me -- scare me, too. this is from twitter. i watched newt gingrich's interview, but it did change my view of him. he is not a washington insider. it really opened him up. he was asked to recall a special memory about his late-mother. he choked up. several articles mentioned that he is not the first to choke up a little bit. here is a flashback to 2008 with hillary rodham clinton in new hampshire. >> i have so many opportunities from this country, i just did not want to see us fall backward. [applause]
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>> you know, this is very personal for me. it is not just political. it is not just public. i see what is happening, and we have to reverse it. some people think elections are a game, who is up, or who is down. it is about our country. it is about our kid with the futures. it is about all of us together. host: we pulled several papers be on the register, and here is the front page of iowa city "press-citizen." the talk about the newt gingrich story, a dust the question does crying hurt -- ? the question does cry heard a candidate. good morning, a democrat line.
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caller: i listen to newt gingrich, rick santorum, and mitt romney, and yesterday to michele bachmann. i want to say how much i appreciate the opportunity to get exposed to all of these people in a little bit of depth through system. it is a wonderful gift to the american people. secondly, i want to say that i and disappointed that i do not hear any of the talking very often, or meaningfully, about alternative energy. one bug of mind is the availability of hydrogen, and not all of cold fusion, the have transformed what we can do with our economy, and the cost of doing it, yet none of them seemed to be up to speed enough to know the kinds of things that
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could happen, and the kind of money that could save this country, and the way our economy could benefit from tens of millions of new jobs. host: we appreciate you calling from florida. new york city, the bureau of manhattan, jay, an independent. caller: i could not vote for new crop -- mitt romney. is he not worth 250 billion dollars? host: why does that better? -- matter? caller: they have to relate to you. being a black man myself, i could see what obama had to go through. that makes me feel like i can understand. i like ron paul because i think the government does spend a lot of money. ron paul was someone i could
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vote for, but when it comes to mitt romney, i did not think i could choose him and feel like he is going to do something for me. i am mad at obama because i feel like instead of doing the health care law in the beginning he should have gone for jobs. i know health care with a bit harder yet his second term. iron ore to vote for obama. host: thank you. this is from a "sue city
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host: here is the front page of the "times-republican." here is rick santorum blasted obama for being weak on iran. time for a few more calls. republican, california. what is your name? caller: bill. host: go ahead. caller: these elections, i feel like it is a lottery system. it just depends on how much money you can pour into a campaign, and what a candidate's posture and grooming and suit looks like. the trailer park states, the battleground stakes without a
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lot for all college with the corruption in the voting system, it is not a fair election. it is a lottery system. host: what does that mean to you? caller: it is all about who can for the most money into the campaign, and is a popularity contest. host: what should change about the process? caller: take the money out of it. naked to a fair, honest, democracy -- make a fair, honest, democracy. the two-party game is a distraction. anyone who takes part is foolish. host: thank you for calling. how does a caucus work? "the wall street journal" has a couple of reminders --
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host: we will have to do all of them -- 1 on c-span, and one on the two of them, one on c-span, and one on c-span two. the last caller. i caller: good morning.
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i am a democrat and i am a christian, and as anyone thinks jesus would be created anyone to have power over the 99% has it backwards. ron paul is more like a libertarian like a brand, " wind up needing government care in her dying years. -- who why the meeting. her dying near -- flow and debt up needing government. her dying years. president obama helped me kept -- keep my home. he is managing to do something. why change them? something wants to take away all our social security. god bless america.
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>> tomorrow, the president of iowa's faith coalition looks at fate in the caucus. then, the mike conaway talks about the latest in politics and the current republican field, then the final results of the des moines register iowa poll. also coming your e-mails, phone calls, and tweets. in the last iowa caucuses in 2008, barack obama won the democratic caucuses and went on to win the presidency. mike huckabee won the republican caucuses but dropped out of the race two months later. see what a compass looks like with video online at the suspended video library. our cameras are following the 2012 candidates with defense throughout the state. every morning, political gusts
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are taking your calls on "washington journal." we will show live coverage of two of the caucuses tuesday night. then, the results of the nearly 1800 caucuses, and candid speeches. for more resources, use the campaign 2012 web site to see what the candidates have set of issues important to you, and read the latest at c-span.org /camapign2012. our live coverage of political events today continues with mitt romney's wife ann, who will meet with voters in ottumwa, iowa. mitt romney is in new hampshire. we understand that ann romney
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should be arriving at about 1:25. we will have that live for you when the event begins. in the meantime, some new political ads for you to look at here on c-span. >> i spent my life in the private sector. i've competed with companies around the world. i've learned something about how economies grow. we will not balance the budget by pretended all we have to do is take out waste. we have to cut spending. i am in favor of cutting spending, capping federal spending at as a percentage of gdp, attended a balanced budget amendment. we have to stop the growth of the federal government and start the growth of the private sector. >> what's up with these saree politicians? -- sorry politicians care budget crisis, no problem.
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$1 trillion by year one. interior, energy, cod, commerce, gone. >> i am ron paul, and i approved this message. >> some people say the america we know and love is a thing of the past. i do not believe that. working together, and i know we could rebuild america. we can revive our economy, and create jobs, shrink government and the regulations that strangle our businesses. throw out the tax code and replace it with one that is simple and fair. we can regained the world's respect by standing strong again, being truth -- true to our faith, and respected one another. we can return power to the people and the state's we live in so we all have more freedom,
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opportunity, and control of our lives. yes, working together, we can and will rebuild the america that we love. i am newt gingrich, and i approve this message. >> a live look now inside the vine coffeehouse in ottumwa, iowa, where mitt romney's white ,ann, will meet with voters. we expect about 10 minutes. after the event is over, we will take your calls and comments here on c-span. so, ann romney coming up shortly. this morning on "washington journal," we ask what you thought were some of the most important stories and the events of 2011. here is some of that.
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host: we are going to look back at the top stories of 2011. what was your top story and why? here are the numbers to call about what you think is the top news story of 2011. it could be here, in washington, around the country, or the world. of the many list out there, we found this in "the hill." they do it with cartoons, you can see in the top left, president obama -- mission accomplished again, talking about iraq, obviously. moving across, you see a cartoon
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of harry reid and mitch mcconnell bickering about something on the hill. herman cain here, with his 9-9-9 plan. in general, the republican party for president, and also one of the top stories, a cartoon of a smiling gabrielle giffords after her dramatic comeback. a shot of the capital that says "out of order." osama bin laden is on the front page. there is a shot of john boehner, the speaker, pulled by an apparent member of the tea party. more politics there. the 99% story -- just a snippet of cartoon pictures of the top 10 stories of 2011. the associated press put out its own list of the top news stories, and we will show you what tops the list. it is the death of osama bin laden.
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that is the number one news story of 2011 according to the associated press. here is about 45 seconds of president obama making that announcement in may. >> tonight, and to report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al-qaida, and a terrorist is irresponsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children get at my direction, the united states launched a targeted operation could a small team of americans carry out the operation with extraordinary -- operation twist a small team of americans carry out the operation with extraordinary courage. after a firefight, they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body. >> that was may 1, 2011.
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top news stories beyond the osama bin laden according to the ap -- host: we do want to hear from you. saint louis is up first. top news story of 2011. douglas, a democrat, what do you say? caller: i am really impressed by the arabs bring up rising. i think that led to a lot of the -- arab spring uprising. i think that led to a lot of the occupy movement. i think people need to get their voice back and take the scene away from well-funded people that are tried to influence it. your previous callers talk about drinking the kool-aid. just because it is not their
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opinion, it does not mean it is less relevant to add a lot of people comment about how they are patriots, -- relevant. i get a lot of people that comment about how they're patriots. i assert, too, and i am a democrat, and that does not make me any less right. i did not hear the tea party on the payroll tax issue. i do not believe they were real to begin with. host: thank you. edward, in west palm beach, florida, an independent. caller: i think the death of bin laden -- i feel that was a major, major part of what this country has been talking about for the last 10 years.
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i feel that we have gotten away with not taking being faced as a country. the republicans have said that obama does not do this or that, however the economy has been on a downspin before he got in office, and i think if republicans would just stop being the party of no, and work with this president, i feel that the economy would be in a lot better shape. i think all the propaganda that has been bombarded, many people are not educated enough to know all of the facts. with the death of bin laden, it
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had made people see things in a different light. i think when obama first got into the chair, they felt as if he was not strong enough on foreign policy, however he has made and "a" in that area. only if the democrats and republicans would come together to work in a collaborative way, i feel this country will move on a lot better. host: the perspective of edward it west palm beach, florida. we want to hear your thoughts. elizabeth, also in florida, the capital of florida, tallahassee. elizabeth is a republican. caller: the top story for me would be that president obama keeps saying he is for the middle class, yet he spends his vacation in hawaii spending $4
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million. they all want to be in the white house, but there are always traveling. maybe if they stayed in the white house and focused on the problems, the country would not be in as bad a shape as it is. host: debra, houston, texas, a democrat. caller: i think my story of this year is the actual process that the right dislikes obama, i will not call it racism, i will not go that far, i think they dislike what he stands for, but the fact he killed bin laden, they should have rallied behind him, and everything he has done they have obstructed and opposed. i think it is quite interesting, the dusty you have not just a moment ago, a lady asked about voter suppression and when people show their id, and the guest responded it would be held
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at private homes. now, democrats will hold their caucuses in private homes, and they might be in get -- ghettos, or in neighborhoods with disabled black people, latinos, and asians, yet we will be held to a strict standard of people wanting to see id of the time. i and disabled and cannot get down there. my idea was rebuilt online. -- id was renewed online testing lower suppression needs to be looked at. i think it is clear that the right has not given obama and the credit. >> we will leave this morning's "washington journal" as mitt romney's wife ann is a writing for a visit in and out to the,
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iowa. live coverage, here on c-span -- ottumwa, iowa,. live coverage here on c-span. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> what are you doing here? >> we are for you. >> everybody is excited. >> i do not want to have a candidate the has a lot of baggage. >> i believe he as had a pretty wonderful life, and i will talk about that. >> good haired. >> hi, guys.
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>> right here. >> there we go. one, two, three. that was a good one. >> thank you very much. [laughter] >> i appreciate that. it looks like it is a fun place to have lunch. >> ok. how are you? c-span.o[unintelligible] >> good to have you. >> thank you for coming.
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>> thank you ka. >> nice to have the. thank you for coming to ottumwa. >> you are a very brave woman. [laughter] >> the definition. -- good afternoon. how are you? [laughter] >> thank you. >> ok. thank you, all. i'm surprised anybody is here. he should all be getting ready for no years.
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i hope you are getting your list ready for your resolutions this year. i will tell you one of my resolutions, and it is to be more grateful, and to express more of my gratitude. so, i will express a gratitude right now, which is i am grateful for this country that we live in. i am grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy. i am grateful, by the way, for my ancestors that made sacrifices so i could live in this great country. we talked about this amazing country, and we forget sometimes all the people that made sacrifices for us to be here. i am grateful for my grandfather who was a coal miner and started working at age 8 in the coal mines. he would go to work in the yards. he would come home at dark. he saw the sun on sunday.
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his job was to open the door for the mules as they brought the cold in and out. he recognized he did not want that kind of a future for his children, and because my father heard this from his own father, the message i got with was study hard, where it is the pick and shovel for you. i heard that, by the way, when i was growing up, too. if i did not really believe those are my choices, but those were my father's tauruses. i am grateful for my grandfather came here and gave his children and his grandchildren a better opportunity in life, and giving them another option besides working in the coal mine. i do not forget that. i think about that, and i think about how amazing this country
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has been, that a coal miner's granddaughter is in the here today who is married to someone that might be the next president of the united states. it is just an amazing country. [applause] >> i also like to remind people that there are a lot of different lenses you can see a candidate through, and the lions that so many people see mitt romney through it is on his professional accomplishments, and we are all familiar with that. he is been very successful in business. he was a wonderful guy at the olympics, did they turn around at the olympics, and also was a great governor. -- did a wonderful turnaround at the olympics, and he was also a great governor. there is another lens, and that is from his family, and his wife. we have been married for 42 years. we were high school sweethearts.
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we have five sons. i am the grandmother of 16 grandchildren. we have been blessed in life. in my early years of marriage, when i had those five, and i'd like to remind people, and very naughty boys, i felt sorry for myself all the time when i would go to a house when there were young girls in a home, baking cookies, helping their mother in the kitchen, washing dishes, and i thought this does not happen in my house. mitt romney would call home on occasion, that he was in consulting, and was traveling in the early years of our marriage, and he did not like traveling, but i would sit i do not know what to do with these boys, and he would remind me that what i was doing was more
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important than what he was doing, and i really appreciated that. by the way, he really meant that. a job is temporary, but the things you are building on will bring us forever happiness. the kids knew that, and a new how much mitt romney saw in me, an equal partner, with my partner -- with my husband, and i will tell you that i had great joy in knowing that my sons are behaving like their father. it is a great thing to see my son's been wonderful husbands and fantastic parents. i am so grateful for my sons and how wonderful they are with their own children. mitt romney and die comment that we which they are doing a better job -- and i, that they aren't -- comment that they are doing a better job than we are.
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another lens is how he behaved in my darkest hour. i was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and it was a very difficult time in my life. i had been fairly athletic pair i loved to play tennis, and to be active and doing things. all of a sudden, well, over a number of weeks, i started thinking what is wrong with me? something is really wrong with me, and i took a nosedive. i could hardly walk. i was fatigued. i had this horrible disease that i was not aware of when i was going through it, that give the crippled me. i did not have enough energy to do anything. was a frightening time in my life. when i finally got a diagnosis that i had multiple sclerosis, it was pretty devastating. i was, as you might imagine, a
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bit overwhelmed, and overwhelmed in away with thinking that my life was over, that this is the way that i was going to always be, and i was really feeling pretty sorry for myself. so, at that point, i really appreciated mitt romney, because what he did was say this is not fatal. we are going to be ok. i do not care that you cannot make dinner every night. it does not matter to me. i could eat peanut butter sandwiches and cold cereal for the rest of my life. as long as we are together, we can handle anything. that gave me the permission to be sick for a while, and accept the fact that i had to learn how to deal with the. it was outlined in my life for i have a lot of self-reflection, -- it was a time in my life for i had a lot of self-rome --
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reflection, and it was also a time when mitt romney started running the winter the olympics. off we went to salt lake city. -- running the winter olympics. off we went to salt lake city on a different path in life. when i left, when we left to do the olympics, i was barely able to walk. i was very weak. mitt romney took the job of running the olympics, and over the three years that we live there, and were working to try to turn around those games, my health started to get restored. i figured out medications that helped me, exercise programs that could bring my strength back, and i started riding horses. they brought me great joy and balance in my life so, when it was time for the olympic torch to make its where across the
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country, he decided the torch run would be by heroes, and he wanted people to nominate heroes. the torch and all across the country, thousands of miles, and people were taking turns. they were all heroes in someone else pulled the life. they were wonderful stories. unbeknownst to me, mitt romney had nominated me as his hero to run the torch into salt lake city. so, it was an amazing thing for me to recognize where i had started three years prior -- how weak and sick i was, to having the strength and a little more resilience three years later. so, it was with great emotion that my children surrounded me, and my husband, with tears in his eyes, handed me the torch, and i was able to have enough strength to run that torch into
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salt lake city before the start of the 2002 winter games. that is the side of the man that i like to tell people. he has such an ability to figure out what is important, what matters, and to really be there, and stick with you when you are in your worst moment. that is what our marriage has been like. he has been a guy that is just been steadfast and wonderful, and loving, and i love the fact that he values his children and his grandchildren as is most -- the things that he could be most proud of. he does not look at the things that he has accomplished in life, but he looks at his most valuable treasure as his children. i appreciate that, and love him very much. i look forward to him being the
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kind of guy that would be -- that would have the strength to sit in that office, with difficult decisions will be made, and i will trust that he will have the kind of character and the kind of strength to do the right thing, and to make the right decisions, and make the tough choices, because we never know what decisions are going to come across the president's desk, but if we trust the man know he has good judgment and good values, that, to me, is an important characteristic. i am looking forward to this election. you all have an important job to do next tuesday. it is coming up very soon. we are energized her momentum is building in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, and florida. we are very excited to get going, and to get -- do we really need to do, which is
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elect a new president, and make barack obama a 1-term president. so, with your help -- [applause] clarks get to the caucuses. thank you so much. -- >> get to the caucuses. thank you so much. [applause] >> i will make sure mitt romney hears that. i will tell him that. thank you. thank you so much. ok. how are you? i make sure they get that. [laughter] ight. was rect >> which one is your wife? [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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♪ >> thank you so much. >> we drove a long way. >> you are kidding? [laughter] [unintelligible] >> fantastic. >> thank you so much. sure. come on in.
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[unintelligible] >> thank you. good luck in the caucus. >> to have. -- thank you. >> hi, there. >> nice to meet you. [unintelligible]
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>> nice crowd here? >> yes. >> where you go from here? [unintelligible] his son the came with him. [unintelligible] >> we made a secret, a surprise visit to his home. >> i saw that. that was fantastic. >> we had a very lovely day with his family, and met his children and his wife, and we spend 23 hours at their home, and really got a chance now them. -- no them. [unintelligible]
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>> see as a dynamic guy. -- he is a dynamic guy. >> thank you very much. >> see you, in the morning. -- see you in the morning. des moines.
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>> ann romney is here in ottumwa, iowa, at the vine coffeehouse. we want to hear from the apparent -- from you. texas is one of a number of events we are covering for you leading up to the iowa caucuses. we will have live coverage with our preview program here on c- span and on c-span radio. we will have coverage of two caucuses. you can watch one on c-span, and the other on c-span to. joining us, up from washington,
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d.c., go ahead. caller: i just finished watching ann romney, and she is a delightful woman, but she had absolutely nothing to say, the same thing that her husband mitt romney has nothing to say. they both have the same exterior. they're not appreciative of barack obama and the nation, in time, is not appreciate tiv of him. they do not deserve him. i think obama is above them off. good luck to america. thank you. >> thank you. rachel joins us from california. independent line. caller: high. happy new year, everyone. i heard from mrs. romney, and i think she did a pretty good job. she probably was a little nervous. i also think she just probably
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needs a little more time with the people. if she would of gave them a little more warming -- i think maybe she was nervous parent if you -- warming -- nervous. i think he is a good challenger. i would not vote for him because i did not think he is for the middle class or the poor. i think is a good businessman, a good person, but i do not think he has a plan for the middle class, and our country, yes, capitalism, but we do take care of all our own. we must focus and get america back to work. i have been dropped down to 18 hours. i work 18 hours a month. i am part of a union. they are not taking my hours
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away. the government and the legislators are, fighting, they are the ones taking away my union rights. i had medical through them and stuff, so i believe ms. romney, if she wants her husband to be elected, she needs to focus on the people, relayed to us, because believe in you and your husband. >> thank you for the call. we are getting your reaction to the iowa caucuses. there are more than 1700 caucus locations in 99 counties. i'll what is first in the nation, dating back to 1972. this is been a springboard for a number of candidates including jimmy carter, george herbert walker bush, and the caucuses
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get under way at 8:00 eastern. ed, n.c., our line for republicans. caller: i a black american, and i am glad that i changed over to a republican. a lot of these black democrats are overwhelmed with barack obama. as a bunch of hyper-rhetoric. i really like mitt romney. i like ron paul as well. i hope the next person that gets you there -- we have to get barack obama out of there. he does not care about america, or black america, for that point. i wish everyone a happy new year, and vote republican. >> thank you. roger, great neck, n.y., also on our line for republicans. caller: happy new year.
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i hope everyone is having a great new year, and i hope to have a great christmas and hanukkah and all of that. my feeling about the iowa caucuses is i am a democrat, i voted for mccain/pailin. i think mr. mitt romney will best suit the company, make this country great again, will bring in the jobs, will not outsourced, will create a standard of living for the middle class, everybody, and i think obama was awful. i think he ruined this country. jobs are not here. it is sort of like jimmy carter, and ronald reagan came in and fixed it. i feel mr. romney is the best man, and he will be the greatest president, and he will be the greatest president that
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we will ever have had thank you -- had. thank you to c-span for accepting my telephone call. >> thank you for the call. all of our campaign coverage is available on our site for politics. we are coming to you ottumwa, iowa, about one hour and a half southeast of des moines, which is the capital. we are in one of a number of areas considered to be a stronghold for the republican party. a local from this era -- area, and a freelance reporter with yahoo! news, given some of the demographics of this area. >> actually, the democrats often win elections here, but that does not mean there is not a strong republican base here. they have been working very hard on this campaign to get voters a chance to meet the candidates, and we of have some excellent
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turnouts. >> how far do you live from here in ottumwa? >> about three blocks. >> you are here covering ann romney, making a second of a series of stops, and she will be campaigning with her husband. who was said you covered, it was have you seen? >> -- who else have you covered, and who else have you seen? >> rick perry, michele bachmann, i hope to meet rick santorum this afternoon. newt gingrich made a quick tour through ottumwa one week ago, on monday. we're getting a feel for who these candidates are. i do a lot of asking questions because i am covering news for this event, so i am interviewing people in the crowd, and i think that voters nationally will be a little bit surprised about the leanings when they see what happens at the caucuses.
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had i been s quattro weeks ago, i would say -- asked 4 weeks ago, i would say newt gingrich and mitt romney would take it, and ron paul would run a distant third. it has changed considerably. my guess would be a will be between mitt romney and ron paul, and newt gingrich is the one that will be the distant third. we will see, but they generally have a halfway decent feel for the political radar around here. >> the me ask you about the issues. -- let me ask you about the issue. there is no snow in the forecast. that could increase turnout. what will motivate people to come here across -- and across the state? >> it is important to the republican base to maintain their voice in politics.
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we feel we are the heartbeat of the benefits of america here, in this part of the country. we are family-oriented, church- oriented. we believe that agriculture, you know, has an important role in the health of the national budget care we are very conscious of what is going on in washington, d.c., right now, with political insiders, and there are a lot of concerns about that. we want to have a say so with our vote when they go to the caucus. >> a local here in ottumwa, iowa, jody, thank you for spending some time with the. >> thank you. >> two polls show rick santorum is in a solid third place, about 15%, to 60%. the key will be turned out.
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-- 16%. the key will be turned out. mike huckabee won the caucuses four years ago. susan joins us from albuquerque, new mexico, democrats lined. what is on your mind this saturday afternoon? >> i think the country has to wake up to what the republicans have done. they talk a good game, but they do not in any way, shape, or form, represents a 99% -- represent the 99%. as far as i'm concerned, they have obstructed everything that obama has tried to do, and anything that he does get past they criticize. they criticized him when he killed bin laden. i knew it was going to happen. i did not see george bush making
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too much effort. >> ok, susan. thank you for the call. michele bachmann had a brief campaign appearance at her headquarters des moines. otherwise, no public events on our schedule. we will cover mitt romney, who was on a 700-mile bus trip across the state. this afternoon, live coverage of rick santorum, who is also. ottumwa. we will have live coverage. next is -- here in ottumwa. we will have live coverage. next is richard. independent line. >> my name is terrance, and i'm calling from florida. i think mitt romney is a great candidate. i think he is going to really help bolster small business.
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i think you could make the case that any of these candidates, including even barack obama himself are for the middle class. you could make the case they are all for the middle class, but i think the person that will get things done in terms of business is the person with the most solid business experience, and that as mitt romney. i think he is presidential. i love his stance in terms of foreign policy. i think most importantly, given his past experience in the private sector, he will get things done, and i cannot wait to see him as president. thank you. >> thank you for the call. we are at the vine coffeehouse on jefferson street in ottumwa, iowa. ist romney's wife ann romney making the rounds. she will join her husband later today. we are also cover in newt gingrich over the weekend,
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including some stops tomorrow, and our final coverage monday, with caucus coverage given underway tuesday. karen joins us from miami, a republican line. >> i am in miami, florida. i of a schoolteacher. i feel that voters will be making a huge -- i am a schoolteacher. i feel that voters will be making a huge error if they vote for romney or newt gingrich. i am a huge ron paul supporter. asked if people do not vote for him, it will be -- i feel it is business people do not vote for him, it will be politics as usual. he wants to end the war in the middle east. he wants to build the jobs here. he wants to protect america, and restore it, and i think he is our last hope to change what is going on in washington. people need to look him up and find more information about him,
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because i do not think the media is giving him enough attention, and he is really where it is that, different from all the rest. >> ok, karen, thank you for the call. florida is one of the reasons we are spending new year's eve in iowa care when they move their primary up, it created a -- i want. when they move their primary office, it creates a domino effect. in february, there are a couple of caucuses. next is terry, buffalo, new york. independent line. good afternoon. caller: i am a democrat, not an independent, but i am calling to offer my opinion regarding president barack obama. i supported him eight years ago -- four years ago.
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i will be supporting him again. he is this country's best chance to turn the country around. i do not understand republicans or anyone who supports the republican model. we are running this country in the ground if we continue to go down this path, and roll back over 40 years of social progress. opposite, the economy is the issue in this election, and barack obama is the best chance of turning this country around. i voted for him in 2008, and i was not under the assumption that he could turn the economy around in eight years. i do not think any president could, including john mccain. i think it is unfair for this republicans tried to get
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